Toxic Gardens sample for NAMAC/ITVS

Excerpt from a video about Africans Americans living in Chicago public housing.

00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone.

00:23Copy video clip URL Black

00:31Copy video clip URL A group of African American women in mid-discussion about the lack of discipline in raising kids today. One woman claims we give our kids choices to make that they shouldn’t make. Another woman claims that parents are younger these days, but the first woman argues that no, it’s no different if you go back in history. The only difference today is that you don’t need your family as a workforce the way you did one hundred years ago.

02:28Copy video clip URL Another woman says poverty is big business. Someone makes money supplying public schools. People make money off poor people, and she claims the people who do this are the same ones who deceive and manipulate poor communities. She says if they wanted to do something about the poor they’d give us direction to govern our own lives.

03:30Copy video clip URL The discussion turns to public housing. Before 1980, people worked and rents were reasonable. After Reagan, working people were kicked out when rents were raised. Now you have people on welfare, retirees, and people who can’t make enough to get out. “You still have people who care about their places, who take care of their places, but… there is a feeling of depression out here… You don’t see people caring about the places the way they used to.” Another woman asks if the non-caring attitude was a result of Civil Rights or what? A third woman suggests that attitude came about after they raised the rents so high. “So in other words, CHA (Chicago Housing Authority) deliberately took the working class out of public housing.”

07:23Copy video clip URL Change of location. A woman walks through the projects towards a house. She asks the homeowner about the crime issue. The woman says there was a crime issue at the local school. Security comes there every morning and stays throughout the day. “When I’m there, I feel very secure… My daughter goes to band at 8 in the morning. For a very long time I walked her there. She had to have somebody escorting her there, because I was scared [for her]… I teach her precaution. You don’t walk down the street and not look. Don’t let nobody walk up on you. And I’m not going to lie, I give her mace… As a woman, you’ve got to take double, triple precaution. Especially as a young, ghetto, black child. She’s college-bound—I know she is, I’m setting her up for that.”

10:24Copy video clip URL Interview with kids on the street. One kid says he’s afraid to walk in certain areas after 8 o’clock for fear of gangs, although he says the police are good our here. Other kids disagree, say the police don’t help. The girls claim the police just drive around and try to flirt with girls. A girl tells a story about a police officer who arrested her mother and behaved unprofessionally and yet is still on the job. They tell various stories about how the police treat them rough and harass them. “You can’t come out unless you have a house ID on you.”

12:51Copy video clip URL Black.

14:06Copy video clip URL Continued interview with the group of kids outside. One says you can’t get the police when you actually need them. “If I get into a fight can the police help me? No!” Another girl tells a story of police harassment. Another girl intervenes and clarifies that there are two or three security officers who don’t belong out here who are treating everyone so rough. One woman says everyone needs to come as a group to fight against injustice.

17:13Copy video clip URL Tape end mid-discussion.



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