Keeping our Chicagoans informed.

                                                       Land Of Chicago

                                                        By: Akilah Shakir

Chicago was founded by Native Americans. Chicago was a phenomenal city where different nationalities came together to pursue the "American Dream". Chicago continued to expand, but once the Great Chicago Fire took place in 1871, the buildings, streets, and sidewalks had been destroyed. The Water Tower and Pumping Station were among the many other buildings that had survived the fire.
Chicago is more than just a city name. If you dig deeper into the roots of Chicago, it means ancestors, opportunity, a new life, and much more. Chicago is a place that I and so many other Americans are proud to call home. Chicago, like other cities has amazing food, beautiful landscapes and buildings, and beautiful souled people. Chicago has been through its levels of ruins, but will always continue to grow beautifully.


                                                          Protecting Innocence

                                                              By: Akilah Shakir

Hasan Shakir is married and a father and role model to 4 children. He is 38 years old and lives on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Hasan owns a catering business called Bliss Catering, and he is a manager at the Walnut Room in Macy's. He values a lot of things, including music, so I recently interviewed him on his thoughts about how certain music has an effect on our teenagers.


Akilah: Hello Hasan Shakir.
Hasan: Hi
Akilah: How are you today?
Hasan: I am great.   
Akilah: I would like to ask you a couple of questions about the influence rap music has on our teenagers today.
Hasan: Okay, sure.
Akilah: The first question is what types of genres of music do you like to listen to?
Hasan: I like jazz, soul, and at this stage in my life that's about it. I like R&B , but it depends on the substance of it.
Akilah: What artists did you listen to growing up?
Hasan: Growing up of course, I think everybody had a little Franky Beverly, Maze, and Isley Brothers. Coming into to high school, I listened to R-Kelly, Jodeci, Mint Condition, High Five, New Edition, and a lot of the early mid-80s, early 90s R&B groups.
Akilah: Do you think hip-hop music had an effect on you as a teenager?
Hasan: Yes it did. I listened to NWA, Ice Cube, The Ghetto Boyz, Scarface, UGK. Heavy D wasn't a hardcore rapper ,but I liked his style. I listened to Too Short as well.
Akilah: How did this particular genre of music effect you?
Hasan: The west coast was hardcore rap ,so the influence was imitating. Whether it being verbally or physically. It definitely made you either agitated or easy going.
Akilah: Did you parents listen to rap music?
Hasan: No, my father actually broke my NWA tape and told me not to play that type of music in his house. That's a memory I will never forget.
Akilah: Do you think rap music has changed over the past few years?
Hasan: I don't listen to rap music anymore because it doesn't provide any substance for me at my level of maturity. What I hear on the radio today isn't something I would listen to at this age. I'm more mature than I was 20 years ago.
Akilah: Do you listen to any hip hop music today?
Hasan: No, but if I do, it's while I'm working out so I can be more active while I'm exercising. I would only listen to the old school music I've been listening to.
Akilah: What kind of influences do you think rap stars have on teens today?
Hasan: It has something to do with their culture and their lifestyle. I wouldn't say a lot of teens agree with the music that's out there today, but it has something to do with the way you are raised. Some of the music can be degrading to older and younger women.
Akilah: Do you allow your children to listen to rap music?
Hasan: No, I don't allow it, but I'm not going to be able to secure everything. What I warn you about and what you go out and do are two different things.
Akilah: Thank you for your time.

Certain Music Effects Our Teens

                                            "Certain Music Effects Our Teens"

Many teens of all races today, are listening to R&B and Hip Hop music. The well-known artist of the gang Young Money are the most influential people to our teenage boys and girls. Writer of "The Effects Of Violent Music Content On Teens" says that "In most music today, especially rap and heavy metal, most of the lyrics contain references to violence, sex, and or drugs." Many argue that the messages artists are sending today have a huge and dangerous effect on their students and children.
Teens often do not understand what the artist of a song is saying, which can also play a role in their change of thought and actions. Research shows that only 30 percent of teens questioned whether they comprehend what the artist is saying, actually understood the lyrics.
Songs such as "Love Me," by Lil Wayne, Future, and Drake says things like "I could give a *censored* about no hater, as long as my *censored* love me." Many cannot interpret a positive meaning from the lyrics of this song. It teaches our teens not to care about the people who dislike them because all that matters is having luscious women love you. Most rap music today disrespects women by using them as sex slaves, or calling them disrespectful names. Many teenage boys are starting to think it is okay to disrespect women because their favorite rapper is promoting women as *censored* in their songs.
Rap music drives our teens to make the decisions they do today, whether it is killing someone with a gun, or using a woman. More and more teens are beginning to believe that it is acceptable to do the same as their favorite artists.

Opinion piece

                                                    Where Are The Witnesses?
Chicago's violence has tremendously sky rocketed over the past few years. In certain areas of Chicago, more and more young children are dying. Most of these unexplainable deaths are due to gun violence. Before we knew it, gangs began leading the lives of our students and children. Teachers continuously tell us that violence is not the answer, but that is how we believe we need to solve our problems. Random fights break out in school and groups of people are pulling up to public places spraying bullets. This is how we solve issues. We solve them by permanently hurting someone who has caused pain and it doesn't stop there. The violence continues on like a food chain. One person is after the other. We have all said, "The violence has to stop!",yet we witness events and don't say a word. And why is this? Why do we continue to complain about our neighborhood's violence, but don't speak up when your neighbor's son was just shot? I know why. I know that we as human beings are scared to speak up and "snitch". I also know that we as human beings are selfish at times. By staying quiet, you saved your own life, but if you would have spoken up, you could have saved the grief of a family's heart.

I've realized that policemen can't always be heroes. I've realized that policemen need help and information because they can't solve a crime with no starting point. On September 24th, 2009 16 year old Derrion Albert was beaten to death near Christian Fenger Academy High School on the South side of Chicago. Many Fenger High School students were walking home from school, including Derrion. A brawl between two rival gangs broke out. Some say Derrion was hit while others say he jumped in the fight to help a close friend. The action was recorded by some of the students and posted on YouTube. The video showed Derrion being beaten with pieces of railroad tide by the boys in the gang. Derrion Albert soon died at the scene.

The reality of this all is that no one said anything. Out of all the Fenger students or other witnesses, not a single person told police what the guys were wearing or if they knew the suspects. Later in the story, I found out that many of the students knew the four suspects involved in Derrion's murder. I believe that none of the students thought they owed information of the suspects to Derrion or his mother. His mother wasn't even there to hear the last words of her son. No one wants to be a hero anymore. In other words, no one wants to be a "snitch". We all owe it to a mother who is grieving over her son's death. We all want someone to speak up if they witnessed the death of a loved one, but you have to give to receive.


"The Girl In My Building" by Akilah Calin Shakir

She looks up from her paper.

Red eyes burning a hole through the neon,

Green numbers on the stove's clicking clock.

6:57.It's critical.6:58....


She looks down at her hand as it rapidly shakes,

Like young children coming in from playing in cold weather.

Heart,180 beats per minute.

She knows,

She knows that he is getting closer,

And the closer he gets,

The closer she will come to meeting,





Every time she thinks about leaving,

She can't.

She loves the monster too much.

She enjoys looking into his sweet,

But drunken hazel eyes.

Kissing his lovable,

Yet abusive lips.


The boarded door begins to thump.
"Sherry open the door!"

He forgot his key again.

She sits there because there's no where to run,

No where to hide.

She's hidden everywhere.

No escape.

Instead she stares at the dents in the door.

He kicks it.

She remembers the time he slammed her head over,

And over again into that same door.

She remembers sitting there with blood,

Running down the side of her face.

He apologized,

She stayed.
"Sherry let me in, please!"

She listened to his pitiful voice.

She got up and walked to the door,

And leaned against it crying.

She pulled back and opened the door.

The monster roared a huge roar.

She let out a scream.

"Sherry shut up, shhhh! The neighbors will here you.

"Yes.I,I heard her,

Sherry night after night.




I never heard Sherry again.


Screaming, crying out for help Sherry,

Fell into the deepest sleep anyone was bound to fall into.

About the poet

Akilah Shakir is a freshman at Josephinum Academy. She lives on the south side of chicago and lives with both her mother and father and her 3 younger siblings. She enjoys singing, dancing, and cooking with her father. She strives hard to maintain her good grades and plans on becoming a writer in the future.

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