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. This tape features footage of Cabrini residents Charita and Lynette Havis. The two bring the filmmakers into their home to speak with them about the neighborhood and poor living conditions. Other family members and children talk about their way of life living in Cabrini. We also see video from inside the Robbins Barber Shop.
0:01Copy video clip URL Static
0:02Copy video clip URL Zoom out from a hole in a ceiling. Charita Havis is detailing the problems with the interior of her apartment.
0:05Copy video clip URL Video goes to black; static.
0:08Copy video clip URL Cut to the Havis family sitting on the entry stairs of their apartment building. They are cooing over a five-month old baby.
1:12Copy video clip URL Introductions: Lynette Havis, Charita Havis, Sierra Howard, Pandor Meadows, Malick Weglow. Lynette: “We all come from Cabrini-Green and wish we could all stay here.”
2:08Copy video clip URL Cut to the same stairway. The family is discussing who will stay with whom when they give the videomakers a tour of their apartment building.
2:57Copy video clip URL They walk into the building. Video of the interior hallways of Cabrini and the backyard of the building. They walk up a flight of stairs. Lynette and Charita lament the filth and vermin in their building.
5:37Copy video clip URL They enter their apartment. Lynette details the problems with their apartment. She moves through her kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. Lynette: “This is what we’re living in–like this.”
9:46Copy video clip URL Cameraman asks her how living in this state affects her: “…we been sick from this stuff…they still ain’t gonna do nothin’…” Music playing in the background obscures the audio.
10:51Copy video clip URL Crew asks Charita how there came to be water damage in the bedroom. She describes the event and how it has happened more than once. She also describes calling a toll-free number to complain.
12:38Copy video clip URL Cameraman: “What would you like to tell these people?” Charita: “To do something about these buildings…” She talks about moving to her new place near Washington Park. Crew ask her again what it feels like living in these conditions.
15:02Copy video clip URL Lynette talks about how difficult it is to get repairs on the building, but the audio is hard to hear, due to the bass in a contiguous apartment. The conversation continues and they try to have the music turned down.
20:31Copy video clip URL Lynette: “We need to call the mayor…They say they don’t give a damn.”
21:27Copy video clip URL Video of the partially destroyed hallway between rooms: “We had to keep the oven on to keep ourselves warm.”
22:19Copy video clip URL They walk up a stairwell. Lynette shows them a vacant room filled with vagrants’ garbage.
23:57Copy video clip URL Lynette meets up with another woman down the hallway. The camera peers through a slit between a door and its frame to show a vacant room. Lynette says that this room is the source of all the water pouring into their apartment. Lynette shows them that they have no lights, how the fixtures are rusting, and the brick walls are falling apart. Charita: “They’ll treat you like dogs.”
26:09Copy video clip URL Crewman: “What is it like to live here?” Lynette: “It’s like hell…They’re treating us like dogs, like we’re not nothin’…”
26:31Copy video clip URL Crewman: “When did this place really change for the worst?” Lynette does not give a specific date, but is nostalgic for her childhood.
28:42Copy video clip URL Crewman: “How do your kids feel about living here?” Lynette: “…They’ll be glad to go. They don’t like living by the rats and all this stinky stuff.” Lynette and Charita talk about how initially CHA wanted to place all the residents in the suburbs, how now representatives from the CHA will drive residents around to find an appropriate place to move, but really most residents don’t want to leave the building or their neighborhood.
29:42Copy video clip URL Audio picks up children playing in the hallway. Lynette asks them how they like living here, but they are camera shy. Lynette’s eldest daughter, Sierra, talks about the rats and garbage in her building, and general vandalism.
32:24Copy video clip URL Crewman: “Do you feel scared living here?” Sierra: “Not that much. Somebody hit me I’m gonna hit them back.”
32:41Copy video clip URL Crewman: “What don’t you like about the buildings…?” Sierra: “I’d rather see no curse words [on the walls]…” The crew sets up a long shot of the hallway with Charita and Sierra at the guardrail. Several long pans of the view from the hallway facing out into the courtyard. Close up of Charita’s face looking out over the courtyard. Sierra is balanced on the guardrail.
39:53Copy video clip URL Crew sets up another long shot from the other side of the hallway. Sierra dances.
41:34Copy video clip URL Cut to inside a stairwell covered in graffiti. Pan to a grated window. Pan back to the hallway and a door showing the words: “Board-Up 94.” Audio of Sierra giggling. Close up of graffiti on the wall: “Tricc was here, now she’s gone but don’t worry hoodies she left her fine name to be carried on.”
42:26Copy video clip URL Cut to the stairwell and more graffiti. They descend the stairs. Sierra: “I’m going to lead you to floor 1, you to floor 2, and you to floor 3.” Camera descends to the first floor. They exit the building. Several people are sitting on the stoop. Audio of Sierra: “This is a wonderful country, but the way this building looks is not great.”
44:34Copy video clip URL Static.
44:37Copy video clip URL Inside Robbin’s Barber Shop. This video is re-dubbed from raw tape number 0211. Robbins and two patrons, one of whom is getting his hair cut, are debating the value of education in Cabrini and whether a better environment might change people’s behavior. Seated patron: “I watched them grow up! They didn’t want to go to school when they had the opportunity.” Standing patron: “Okay, in that situation, what you’re talking about, if you take a person out of a bad environment and put them in a good environment you can change them over night. Do you agree?” First man: “I know better [than that]…But everyone here doesn’t wanna sell drugs…”
46:18Copy video clip URL Robbins: “You have a better chance of getting work if you have an education.” The patrons discuss voting. Standing patron: “You can live next door next to somebody and not know nothing about them…” Another patron and several children enter the shop.
49:05Copy video clip URL “I learned when I was little by listening to the adults. But adults did not talk to us, they talked among adults. When they had something to say to a child…then they said it to a child, but you don’t sit here and tell me that adults came to you and straight up said something to you…”
49:27Copy video clip URL Static.
49:29Copy video clip URL Back to discussion, no audio is lost during the static gap: “…they didn’t do that.” Robbins: “If you were doing something wrong, yes they did.”
49:43Copy video clip URL Children are surprised by the camera. Cut to a longer shot of the interior of the barbershop. Robbins is using an electric trimmer on the seated patron’s hair, making the audio hard to hear. They continue their heated conversation about how adults should approach children.
50:21Copy video clip URL Robbins: “I think we’re missing the point, like everybody’s saying, that all our kids are selling drugs and gang banging. There are some you can talk to.” Third patron says that 90% of the kids you can’t talk to. Once, when he tried to get a kid to pick up litter, the kid threatened him with his life. The seated patron describes how his window was shot out with a BB gun. He doesn’t finish his thought, as the video cuts to static.
51:27Copy video clip URL Static.
53:19Copy video clip URL End of tape.