Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another Racist Graffiti Incident in 60655

This time in Morgan Park. (All comments to this article are to be made in the other Post entitled Continued Conversation on Racism).

From the

Black and white. Young and old. Residents and visitors.

All were angry Tuesday afternoon at Chicago's Kennedy Park, 11320 S. Western Ave., site of the 19th Ward's latest incident of racist graffiti.

Swastikas were painted late Sunday or early Monday on a Dumpster and a fence at the tennis courts on the south end of the park, Chicago police said.

This comes a week after racist graffiti, including swastikas and the words "Go home niggers" were found on the garage of a black family in the 10800 block of South Whipple Street, and another batch near 110th and Troy.

The graffiti in Kennedy Park was removed Monday morning by a city crew shortly after police investigated, said Terry Neary, a hot dog vendor in Kennedy Park.

"Graffiti alone is bad. I didn't know this one had a swastika. That bothers me. I know what that symbol is about," said Neary, of Alsip.

"I know there's freedom of speech, but graffiti is wrong. I hate the 'N' word," said Neary, who is white.

A call to the ward office of Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th) was not returned. Police did not say if they think there's a link between the graffiti incidences.

"It's probably kids," one officer said.

If police do find whoever is responsible, jail may be too strong a punishment, said Terry McEldowney. He has something else in mind.

"They ought to slap the (expletive) out of them. Take the cuffs off the cops' hands and let them slap 'em around," said McEldowney, of the West Beverly neighborhood.

"I'm offended that somebody's that stupid to do something like that. It's gotta be kids, right, acting like a fool? I mean the swastika represents everything that's wrong with the '30s and '40s. It's horrible. This is absolutely uncalled for. It's wrong. You can't do that stuff," said McEldowney, 63.

McEldowney, who is white, noted that the 19th Ward "is pretty well integrated."
When black and white children were leaving a summer camp at the park, Melissa Wilson walked up to pick up her son and daughter.

Wilson, who is white, was shocked to learn of the graffiti "especially after that incident with the lady's garage."

"It's disturbing, especially if it's kids doing it. They may not know why people would be upset. Or they're doing it for a reason.

"This is a neighborhood park. We're lucky to have this park," Wilson said.

Tom LePretre, president of the Kennedy Park/West Morgan Park Civic Association, was not available for comment Tuesday. His wife, Jennifer, called the graffiti, "very unusual because we are a diverse community."

Elizabeth Whitehead, who is black and due with her first child in August, took a break Tuesday to get a cool drink at the park.

"I'm not really scared unless they try to put their hands on me. That's a different story," Whitehead said.

Graffiti "does concern me. I didn't know people still did things like that. I'm kind of not surprised because, usually, police are on top of things. They'd make their rounds when the park closed. I thought they were still doing that," said Whitehead, of Beverly.

Sade Scott and her husband, Deandre Scott, stopped at the park for lunch.

"It's not going to be good if kids see it. Basically, it's not a positive influence," said Sade, who is black and lives in Calumet City.

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