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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Rage killed Derrion Albert

Rage killed Derrion Albert. It is the same rage that once led angry mobs of whites to lynch innocent blacks as law-abiding citizens watched.

The same rage once erupted into riots that drove young black men to burn and loot white-owned businesses, as residents hid in their locked homes.

Last Thursday, the rage turned a group of young black men into a mob that fatally attacked Derrion with wooden boards and railroad ties.

It happened on a major thoroughfare in the middle of the afternoon.

Derrion, an honor student, was an innocent bystander of a street fight between a group of young men who come from the CHA's Altgeld Gardens and those who live in the neighborhood near the school known as the "Ville."

"These students can't walk down the street," said Cortez Spearman, who claimed to be a graduate of Fenger.

"If they aren't from around here, they are going to get jumped on," he said.

"The police are out here, but they are not doing their job," he said.

Derrion was viciously beaten near the Agape Community Center, a facility that bears the name for Christian love, located a short distance from the school.

Early Monday afternoon, three teenagers were ordered held without bail for the fatal beating death.

Silvonus Shannon, 19, Eric Carson, 16, and Eugene Riley, 18, are accused of kicking and punching Derrion to death. And late Monday, a fourth person, Eugene Bailey, 17, was charged in connection with the beating.

Carson, a Fenger junior, spent nine months at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. Upon his release, he enrolled at Fenger, and is currently serving a two-year probation for a July 2008 robbery.

Outside of Fenger on Monday, the rage erupted into clashes between young females who took out their anger on camera crews and on each other.

Though a hulking fortress, the high school seemed no match for the scores of angry people who had gathered for a prayer vigil.

As CPS officials, politicians, local ministers, and Chicago Police officers were ushered into the school, a cadre of the slain teen's relatives pleaded to get in.

Derrion's brother, who identified himself only as "Dewante," stood on the steps with tears streaming down his face.

Derrion's grandmother, Jessie Taylor, said she is "taking it one day at a time."

"You never think this is going to happen to you," she said. "My son called me and told me to stop what I was doing -- Derrion is dead."

Behind her, angry protesters tried to storm the door each time it was opened for a new arrival.

They were angry at school officials, at the police, and at the news media whose lens captured their hostility.

"This isn't the first time a child has gotten killed around here, but this is the first time all of these people have come out," said Marquita McAlister, who said she was a parent of a Fenger student.

"My daughter was cut from one end of her face to the other and no one did anything," she said.

McAlister claimed that the mother of the young woman who cut her daughter was a security guard at the school.

"They left my daughter outside to bleed to death," she said.

"It was kids with cell phones who called an ambulance. This violence hasn't just started," she said.

Ronika Black, who lives in Roseland, was outraged over how the school was being run.

"My children have to go to this school. I don't have car fare to send them anywhere else," Black said.

"They opened this school up and said everything has changed. Nothing has changed," she said.

Despite the presence of several youth centers and a number of churches, the rage that claimed Derrion's life is like a fire that keeps flaring up.

"We have to find out why these kids are so angry," said Diane Latiker, founder of "Kids Off The Block," a nationally recognized youth outreach organization in Roseland.

"We are not doing enough. That goes from parents to community leaders to churches to schools,'' she said.

We can't stop the senseless killing until we can reach the young people who are growing up without their own hopes and dreams.

They are enraged.

They are dream killers.


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