Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sudhir Venkatesh in the House

Last night, folks braved the wind and rain to hear Sudhir Venkatesh discuss his book Gang Leader for a Day. I was one of them...OK, so I was already here, but you get the point. Venkatesh came to national prominence after his story was told in the runaway bestseller Freakonomics. While working on a PhD in sociology at the University of Chicago, Venkatesh insinuated himself into the life of JT, the leader of a crack-dealing gang that dominated the Robert Taylor Homes, one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects. Venkatesh shadowed JT, learning about life in the projects from the inside.

His reading was riveting, combining the most incredible stories with a great deadpan sense of humor. He stressed that his book was more of a memoir than a treatise on public policy, though many in the audience were obviously interested in hearing his thoughts on the urban poor. Most interesting to me was his discussion of what happened to the residents after the Robert Taylor Homes was torn down. According to Venkatesh, many of the residents of the projects lived a sort of communal existence by necessity. Often there would be a group of families who would come together because only one family would have an apartment with hot water, another family would be the only one with gas for the stove, etc. These families came to rely on one another, and when it came time to be relocated, they wanted to move together. The Chicago Housing Authority refused their request. Why? Because it's illegal to relocate members of the same race, ethnic group, socio-economic group, etc., because of federal statues against "re-ghettoizing."

Even more disheartening were the stories of residents who distrusted the world so much that after they had moved to the suburbs, they didn't call 911 during an emergency, electing instead to try and contact their former building manager from the Chicago Housign Authority, the woman who controlled many aspects of life in the project. Unfortunately that woman had passed away. Several people died specifically because they didn't believe 911 would help them. Why should they have believed in it? It had never helped them in the projects.

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At 2:31 PM, Blogger Beauty Turner said...

Beauty's Ghetto Bus Tours
Beauty's famous "Ghetto Bus Tours" is designed to give a voice to the voiceless. Much to often doing Chicago Housing Authority 1.6 billion dollars Plan for Transformation you hear from Professors, Sociologists, Academics, city officials, politicians and never hear from the ones that it is affecting the most which is the residents from public housing. the only valid voices in the plan!

Ms. Beauty Turner

National Award Winning Journalist / Activist / Ground Breaking Researcher concerning the Chicago Housing Authority Transformation Plan
International Coverage of Beauty's Ghetto Bus Tours
Latest News:

Read Media Coverage about
Beauty’s Ghetto Bus Tours

Beauty Turner has received International Media Coverage

Recent press shows about Ms. Beauty Turner activities. Please link to the following Web sites to learn more about Beauty’s Ghetto bus tours, reporting and civic participation:

Associated Press reports on Beauty's Ghetto bus tours.
National Public Radio features Beauty's Ghetto Bus Tours in a report on changes in CHA.
Residents' Journal Assistant Editor Beauty Turner on NPR's "News and Notes."
The Chicago Sun-Times joins the bus tour.
The Sun-Times publishes a follow-up story about Carol Wallace.
ChiTown Daily News also has a story about the bus tour.

Chicago public housing high rises were internationally infamous, Now they are almost gone!


Come out and explore this issue with POOR PEOPLE MILLENNIUM MOVEMENT founder Ms. Beauty Turner.

A National Award winning writer and fighter for the people.

A tireless fighter and writer against injustice will take you behind the walls of public housing so that you can hear the residents who by far are the most valid voices concerning the impacts on their lives

While going through Chicago Housing Authority 1.6 Billions dollars Transformation PLan

Beauty Turner has received international fame with her "Ghetto Bus tours"

Greatest History Ever Told To Our People Bus Tours.

Every body on the planet has been telling our stories such as Professors, Sociologists, Academic, film makers,city officials, politicians, but the most valid voices that are being affected the most and that is the voice of the voiceless-The residents themselves. Learn from an expert! At the end of the tour you will visit Turners Ghetto Gallery which holds a unique display of photos, memories and artifacts.

Schedule your tour today! Call Ms. Turner@ (773) 297 - 5619 or (773) 924 - 9590 or E-mail me at
About Me
Beauty Turner Chicago, cook, Illinois, United States Minor Outlying Islands
Beauty Turner lived in the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the nation's most infamous public housing high-rise for sixteen years . She once worked for RJ now serves as Assistant Editor, South Street Journal writing award-winning investigative articles and commentaries and co-directing the Advocacy and Outreach Initiative. Beauty is a well-known community activist as well as a regular columnist for the Hyde Park Herald and other community newspapers. For the last several years, Beauty has worked as a research assistant for Professor Sudhir Venkatesh, a sociologist at Columbia University. Beauty is now a National award winning Journalist recognized by her peers with the First New America Award of it kind by the National Society of Professional Journalists, also a Winner of a Studs Terkel, Peter Lisagor, Associated Press award, Chicago Association for Black Journalist award, Courageous voice award for her activism, Black Pearl award, Woman of the Century award, and a Shero award from the Empowerment Zone Committee. Turner has been feature on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Tribune (773)297-5619


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