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Posts Tagged ‘Election’

Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)
The other day I attempted to return a couple of video rentals to my local Blockbuster only to find that King Drive (my normal route) had been blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. I couldn’t tell at first if it were an accident, but it didn’t appear to be. In the distance, I noticed a large crowd lining the street. I was a bit annoyed as I was already running late, but I quickly took a detour and found an alternate route. A similar occurrence had happened just a couple of nights prior.

Last Thursday, I went to pick up something from a friend of mine in the Hyde Park area and again the street adjacent to his building was blocked off and parking on one side of the street had been shut off, but I somehow miraculously found a parking spot that had just opened directly across the street from my friend’s house. When I got out of my car and walked toward my buddy’s building, I noticed large Black SUVs lining one side of the street just beyond a police barricade and another large crowd directly across from the vehicles standing…patiently waiting. I could visibly see the majority of the crowd was press and media. Who were they waiting for??? Why all the fuss? What’s with all the street blockades? Welcome to life living near The First Family.

If you live in or near the Hyde Park area, like I do, you know very well that ever since President-Elect Barack Obama had announced his candidacy for presidency, his Kenwood home has been under 24-hour police surveillance. Even residents of the area have to go through a thorough check if they are passing through or having company. Security was beefed up several months ago after a man was caught with a gun outside the Obama home after he told police he wanted to speak with the then presidential hopeful about a job.

Until recently, I would often take 51st Street, a regular route for me, to visit friends or handle business in the Hyde Park/Kenwood area, and would joke to friends that I didn’t even want to look in the direction of the Obamas home for fear of being stopped and interrogated. Now, I don’t have to worry about that.

The police barricades have been visibly extended since last Tuesday’s successful election win and for good reason. My route of 51st Street has now been completely shut off and only allows thru traffic of local residents. A window repair salesman who came to my house the other day joked about how his company almost couldn’t complete an installation in the President-Elect’s area because their installer had to pass through several checkpoints in order to get to the residence.

As I will admit, it has taken some adjustment on my part, getting used to the latest detours in my local travel, some of them happening at random albeit, but I honestly don’t mind the slight inconvenience and appreciate the fact that careful security precautions and protection is being given to our nations’ first Black President and the First Family. I feel a certain sense of pride knowing that history was made in the city I call home. If that means taking 55th or 47th Street, Indiana or Cottage Grove to get to my destination, that’s what’s up!

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

Last night’s celebration for President-elect Barack Obama in Grant Park was unlike anything I’d ever seen.  An estimated 125,000 people all gathered to celebrate, and despite the ever-present of throngs of people everywhere you turned, the long lines for food, and no less than five security checkpoints, the mood was electric.  In my mind I couldn’t help but think this it what it will feel like when the Cubs win the World Series in 2108.

Undoubtedly, if you were lucky enough to be able to attend the celebration last night, you know what I’m talking about.  But for those of you who were unable (or unwilling) to see it live, below is a brief inside look at an emotional and historic night here in Chicago.

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Itika Oldwine, NBC Chicago Street Team

An interesting thing happened the other day.  A locally based multi-media website dedicated to the Hip-Hop lifestyle called 247hh.com launched an Election ’08 PSA that was meaningful, insightful and even tear jerking at times.  And to garner more exposure for the video, as well as bring local Chicagoans from the world of hip-hop together, they hosted a screening of the film at a lounge in the West Loop’s meat packing district.  

Now, of course, the purpose of the screening was to get exposure for their video and motivate people to vote on 11/4 but I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge the amazing venue where the event was held.  The 247hh Cooler makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the artsier side of the meat packing district.  The walls are covered with paintings by local artist Chad “Wick” Christian, there are two projectors that bounce images off of the exposed brick walls and the hand painted floors in the bathroom, yes I said it… the bathroom, are truly beautiful.

But I digress, because hands down, the show stealer that evening was the remarkable video featuring popular artists from the world of hip-hop such as rappers, The Game, Young Jeezy and Chicago’s own Common, as well as folks from the world of hip hop that are not as recognizable but still have something powerful to say about politics in America.   

These types of screening events are something that will be on-going for 247hh.com.  Their goal is to regularly and frequently launch and screen videos with purpose and relevancy to give folks from the world of Hip Hop a platform and invite people from Chicago and beyond to come and view their vids in a group setting.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

Community leader and activist Harvey Milk would open his rallies with an introduction, followed by a frank revelation of his intention: “I am here to recruit you.” It was that very same unassuming approach that made him popular, accessible, and influential, as evidenced in Gus Van Sant’s latest biopic, Milk. The movie stars a brilliant Sean Pean as California’s first openly gay elected official. The marriage of Van Sant and Penn is perfect, as together they carve a most vulnerable and believable character without taking the oh-too-easy bait to sanctify a hero. Simply put, Penn’s Milk is as flawed as he is heroic. It is also the battery of other actors—a beguiling James Franco with whom Penn shares heart-breaking chemistry, a scene-stealing Diego Luna, a wonderfully nuanced Emile Hirsch, a sensational Josh Brolin, and a terrific Allison Pill—who make the film such a treat.

Given the film’s emphasis on community, leadership, and opposition to the kind of inane divisiveness that has precluded this country from evolving, the movie feels eerily germane. A significant portion of Milk is devoted to the community’s struggle against the fear of Otherness as spewed by beauty-queen-cum-self-righteous-hate-monger Anita Bryant, and California’s Proposition 6, which would have called for the immediate professional termination of gay—and gay-sympathizing, no less—teachers. Given today’s political atmosphere, the proximity to the election, and California’s current battle over Proposition 8, Milk is as telling of its period as much as it is of ours. Overall, it is an excellent epic that should demand no recruitment, but simply feel the love of free will.

Click here to view a promotional video.

To learn more about Shlomi’s thoughts on all things relevant, enter here.

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