[Voices of Cabrini raw: Guana Stamps]

Footage for the documentary "Voices of Cabrini." Shot between 1995-1999, it documented the Cabrini Green redevelopment project proposed and carried out by the city of Chicago. In this video, Guana Stamps, daughter of recently deceased Cabrini activist Marion Stamps, talks about the importance of after school programs and teen advocacy and awareness for the Cabrini community.

00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars.

0:19Copy video clip URL Guana Stamps in her Cabrini Green office. Director Ronit Bezalel begins an introductory interview. Stamps: “My name is Guana Stamps and I was, until last Wednesday, the project director here for the Tranquility Marksman Memorial Organization. That has changed. I am now the executive director of Tranquility Marksman Memorial Organization, and what we do is we have an after school tutorial program where we teach the rights of passage to the young people in the community which is an Afro-centric teaching of our heritage, as well as American teaching in the whole…” She describes the organization’s advocacy, outreach, and prevention programs.

2:40Copy video clip URL Stamps: “We serve the Near North community, Cabrini Green area…Cabrini Green is the richest land in the city of Chicago, and everybody wants it. What they say in the media–if it did not come from a community resident–then it’s just a bald-faced lie. They want to portray Cabrini Green as an evil place…”  Stamps details the process of white flight, character assassination of the neighborhood, and now the re-emergence of real estate speculation.

5:52Copy video clip URL Stamps talks about the origin of CHA “aggressiveness” in 1994. Stamps: “Unfortunately, for a lot of the residents that did leave, that took their Section 8s, they found out they could not come back and were sent to worse conditions. It’s just been in the past couple years that CHA has been aggressively trying to dislocate the people out of Cabrini…” Stamps talks about her protests against the first demolitions.

9:36Copy video clip URL Stamps: “Right now we’re involved with the LAC–the Local Advisory Council–under the guidance of Cora Moore, who is the president of our LAC. We have representatives of each building council…”

11:32Copy video clip URL Stamps, answering Bezalel’s question, talks about what Cabrini means to Stamps’s mother: “To my mother, Cabrini meant victory.” She details the conditions of Cabrini, her mother’s role in resident advocacy, and the various forces of oppression upon residents.

17:17Copy video clip URL After Stamps’s paean to her mother, Bezalel asks her what will happen to Cabrini now. Stamps: “We gonna maintain the fight. But we gonna fight harder. And if it means we gotta knock ’em down on their ass, then that’s what we will do. That means that if Joseph Schule [?] thinks for one minute [that] he is not going to give the people whatever they want, whatever they need, whatever they just gotta have, he got another thing coming…”

19:19Copy video clip URL Stamps: “When the first ball crashed into the first building, first of all, the building was vacant…Secondly, it’s easy for us to maneuver…I wanna see the first brick being laid…The first ball didn’t phase us at all…”

20:56Copy video clip URL Bezalel asks Stamps about 1150 and 1160 N. Hudson. Stamps refers to her mother: “She gave them [“the brothers” of the residence] a lesson, she gave them assignments…and those that remained will be there until the duration.” Stamps’s main concern is that, even if new buildings replace the old ones, the “people remain on the land.”

24:25Copy video clip URL Stamps: “Your environment determines your attitude. Your environment determines your destiny. And if your environment is ugly, then it makes you ugly. If it’s not on the outside, then definitely on the inside, so, yes, some of them should be torn down, because they’re not fit to be lived in.” She describes her ideal house.

28:25Copy video clip URL Bezalel asks Stamps about the role the brothers and sisters play in the Cabrini Green community. Stamps: “The sisters are the mothers of the community…It is our responsibility to take care of all the children of the village. It is our responsibility to make sure that our houses are clean for the brothers, for the children, for ourselves….The brothers have few responsibilities. Their responsibilities aren’t as big…but their main responsibility is to maintain the peace of the Near North Side…”

31:00Copy video clip URL Stamps describes the nature of peace within the black Muslim community.

34:13Copy video clip URL  Bezalel asks Stamps to differentiate the “nation” and Cabrini’s gangs. Stamps: “Gangs are on the South Side where they’re shooting and killing each other. Gangs are on the West Side where they’re shooting and killing people…Nations, there’s only one nation under Allah of many tribes. These brothers are not gang members or gang bangers, they are one nation under Allah of many tribes…” She details the various gang nations under truce and their respective buildings.

37:18Copy video clip URL About CHA and developers, Stamps says: “I think Dan McLean and Allison Davis will do the righteous and principled thing, and that is give the people of Cabrini Green first choice in the housing, the jobs–first choice…I’m fighting against whoever thinks that we are just gonna let my mother’s life be in vain…I have nothing to say but ‘watch us.’ My actions will speak for me.”

41:09Copy video clip URL Antonio Ferrero: “What’s happening in Cabrini is also happening in other parts of Chicago, and people are fighting back. Can you think…that they can come together and form a coalition?” Stamps: “My mother has given those people enough inspiration. My folks, my concentration, and my commitment is only to the Near North Side of Chicago…my struggle is right here…”

42:24Copy video clip URL Bezalel: “What’s so special to you about Cabrini Green?” Stamps: “This is all I know. And I wanna be able to go on that property to a better house…”

43:28Copy video clip URL Stamps calls the Cabrini Green area the “Soul Coast”– “We’re just trying to bring it up to its standards.”

43:56Copy video clip URL Looking out her window, Stamps shows the crew where the demolished buildings stood. She recites Cabrini Green’s addresses.

46:25Copy video clip URL Stamps: “Some of the people that moved out, being hard-headed, being unbelievers, being unprincipled, moved out because they believed the great white hope that ‘You can move out now, but you can move back in once we get the property re-developed.’ That’s a goddamned lie…”

49:05Copy video clip URL Bezalel: “In twenty years, how would you like to see Cabrini?” Stamps: “I would like to see Cabrini with the same families, just a new generation.”

49:08Copy video clip URL Stamps: “If the plan does not include the people, then there is no plan. If the plan has not been approved by the people, then there is no plan.”

49:42Copy video clip URL She re-introduces herself.

50:14Copy video clip URL Static.

50:21Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

1 Comment

  1. Connie Van Brunt says:

    This is a superb archival documentary statemenht. Great job Guana!

Leave a Comment