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Hello … Hello … Why Won’t You Answer The Door?

October 30, 2007
by

Officials of Carpentersville Illinois have been desperately canvasing Morningside Circle neighborhood trying to obtain applicants for $600,000.00 in loans and grants earmarked for this community.  A similar campaign that targeted another Carpentersville neighborhood had little appeal to the 126 town home owners.

The Morningside Revitalization Project was implemented back in January.  One home improvement project has been started and only two more applications have been initiated. 

So why the low turn out?  Well, some are chalking it up to the rules of the loans and grants which require the homeowner to repay if they sell their home within five years.  Others are blaming it on the controversy over illegal immigration.  However they both may be tied together.

According to Lowell Tosch, director of Community Contracts, a non-profit rehab agency in Elgin:

The lack of interest mystifies Lowell Tosch, director of Community Contacts, a non-profit rehab agency in Elgin that administers the program.

He said the agency has waiting lists for similar programs in other Kane County communities, including those with significant Hispanic populations such as Aurora. During the last decade, the organization has distributed $3 million in similar grants to other parts of Carpentersville, officials said.

“It’s very puzzling to me,” Tosch said. “Government money can be complicated to get, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have homeowners applying for these funds.” source

If other such communities with a high Hispanic population have waiting lists for such programs then clearly the lack of interest in Carpentersville can not be associated with rules of the grants and loans.  Instead it is more likely that residence of these communities are feeling uncertain in regards to their standing within the community.  If such is the case it provides little or no incentive in revitalizing a community where a resident does not feel welcome and may even be contemplating how long they are wanting to stay in such community.

Off on a little side note I go to say – it’s lucky that the English resolution passed this summer in Carpentersville does not make it illegal to send out literature on this revitalization project in the Spanish language.  Lucky for the 40+% Hispanic population they do have the luxury of recieving literature and accessing literature when it will benefit the city – such as this and water/sewer rate hikes.  Unfortunately, they’ll have to count on the federal government to give them fair voting rights.

Well maybe certain trustees at Carpentersville can take a moment to reflect on just how much this tension is hurting the city.  While the city of Carpentersville may just get out of the $30,000,000.00 lawsuit:

In addition, DeAno said both defendants are protected under the Illinois Tort Immunity Act.

“Defendants Diane Graham and Martin Gruber, public employees serving in a position involving the exercise of discretion, are not liable for any injury to plaintiffs as a result of exercising such discretion.” source

the lawsuit was just one of the many symptoms that are now afflicting the Carpentersville community due to the illegal immigration debate.  Whether or not the complaint is justified or legitimate it is the symptom of a climate that was created within Carpentersville.  What was once only a dream to beautify these blighted areas in Carpentersville has become a reality.  What have you created?

If these trustees true intentions are to encourage assimilation then I suggest they take a look at what is going on in other communities that provide positive results:

In Melrose Park, they lure in Latin American immigrant parents with a new youth soccer league, then try to get them into neighborhood English classes as part of a state New Americans initiative.

In Skokie, planned courses will teach new residents from warmer parts of the world how to dress for the area’s infamous winters. And in Schaumburg, village officials are puzzling over how to persuade South Asians to join local civic groups.

All are part of a quiet but mounting government push to encourage assimilation, the likes of which has not occurred since Theodore Roosevelt’s Americanization programs of the early 20th Century, scholars say.
With Illinois viewed as a national model, government officials around the country are devising new strategies to deal with a historic immigration wave that has caught many areas off guard. The topic, referred to by many academics and officials as “integration,” will be the subject of a two-day national conference in Chicago starting Tuesday.

Prompted by the polarizing debate over immigration — and the backlash in such places as Carpentersville and Waukegan — officials from the federal level down to local church groups have been trying to find ways to bring immigrants into the mainstream more quickly.

Though punitive or restrictive measures have gotten the most attention, there has also been a substantial push to integrate. Over the last 18 months, about a third of the some 130 immigration-related ordinances introduced around the country have been geared toward providing more English-language courses and other immigrant-friendly initiatives, according to the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

Unfortunately it can not be left up to the Carpentersville’s trustees solely.  Each Carpentersville resident needs to voice their concerns and write to their trustees – email them, letter them or phone them.  Residents .. you’re going to have to do something productive in order to stop this behavior; it’s in your own best interest.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2007 3:18 am

    Wow, you are becoming a community activist🙂 Alhamdulillah!

    Good for you🙂

    Ya Haqq!

  2. November 2, 2007 4:47 pm

    Irving – I’d like to do more in that direction – we’ll see what happens.

  3. Angeline Lee permalink
    November 2, 2007 7:50 pm

    Hmmm. Hello, why don’t you answer the door. That’s a good start. Now, follow up with why… did you investigate yourself or did you stop at ‘English Only’? That’s a copout, and frankly I am sick and tired of this crap. The English Only ordinance was a farce, each and every one of us in the town of Carpentersville, and the rest of the U.S., whether you speak English, Polish, Italian, Swahili, etc.; there’s not just Spanish… Spanish speaking humans need to realize the world is bigger than them. The only difference between Hispanics that want the world to come to them and not go out into the world is education and the yearning for a better tomorrow. I find those, and yes, I live in Carpentersville, that refuse to speak English in America are rude, racist bigots who absolutely love to say that those that speak English are racist. It has NOTHING to do with racism and a helluva lot more to do with what is right and wrong.

    Delve deeper. Morningside is a mish-mash of nationalities; however, a large spectrum is African American. They might not be answering the door because A) They’re working and are not home, B) Are tired of being ignored and pushed aside, as the Hispanics are doing now, and so many others have done before, or C) They may just be afraid to hope because, honestly, who can give $600,000 away? We’re all tired of false hope, and that’s what those who live in communities such as ours are tired of doing, hoping for better but continuously having the rug ripped out from under us.

    So, before you attribute this to an English Only ordinance, figure out first who is being profiled, who is being ignored. Once you delve into that, you’ll be surprised to find it’s those that speak English that need the most help. But, hey, the squeaky wheel ALWAYS gets the oil, now, doesn’t it?

    Have a nice day!

  4. November 2, 2007 11:16 pm

    Angeline,

    did you even read the entire post? I didn’t call it “English Only” – I called it an English resolution and made it CLEAR that the Hispanic population does get some materials in Spanish – Let me refresh your memory:

    “they do have the luxury of recieving literature and accessing literature when it will benefit the city – such as this and water/sewer rate hikes. Unfortunately, they’ll have to count on the federal government to give them fair voting rights.”

    I don’t even know why I’m going to bother responding to your bigotted ass but I will. And you know what – this has nothing to do with me being a bigot rather it has to do with this observation that you seem to have pulled directly out of your ass:

    “The English Only ordinance was a farce, each and every one of us in the town of Carpentersville, and the rest of the U.S., whether you speak English, Polish, Italian, Swahili, etc.; there’s not just Spanish… Spanish speaking humans need to realize the world is bigger than them. The only difference between Hispanics that want the world to come to them and not go out into the world is education and the yearning for a better tomorrow.”

    Let me first say – that this is not about not wanting people to learn English. I’m rather firm about people having to learn English. HOWEVER – we contributed to this problem and are a big reason that they aren’t speaking English. You may want to go and read this post I wrote a while back in regards to how I feel about the subject of Hispanics needing to learn english: https://samaha.wordpress.com/2007/04/21/habla-espanol/ However, we can not just now go and throw them into dangerous waters by eliminating materials and services in Spanish. 40+% of Carpentersville’s population is Hispanic. Now, go back to my post and click on the green “fair voting rights” at the end of the paragraph about the English resolution.

    Now go back and take a look at the $30,000,000 lawsuit link – which is also in green. That’s another shining example of what could happen by not having a waiver of medical services form in Spanish available to those that do not speak English. I am not saying that this lawsuit is legitimate or that this for sure happened – but how would you feel if something like this did happen and it could easily have been avoided with one document written in Spanish?

    Now, I’m not certain of the demographics of Morningside Circle as I only have gone by what I have read in articles .. but let me take your word that this a mish mash of nationalities and African Americans make up a large spectrum. Most people from outside of Carpentersville and the US are seeing this for what it is – a bigotted campaign by a few trustees in Carpentersville. Where ever you have bigotry – it won’t matter if you are not the one directly affected by the particular form of bigotry – if you are in anyway a minority or have been subject to racism and bigotry you will most likely feel unsure about your standing within this community.

    I swear – you didn’t get past that English resolution as I have posted what results these kinds of programs are finding in other communities:

    “The lack of interest mystifies Lowell Tosch, director of Community Contacts, a non-profit rehab agency in Elgin that administers the program.

    He said the agency has waiting lists for similar programs in other Kane County communities, including those with significant Hispanic populations such as Aurora. During the last decade, the organization has distributed $3 million in similar grants to other parts of Carpentersville, officials said.

    “It’s very puzzling to me,” Tosch said. “Government money can be complicated to get, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have homeowners applying for these funds.””

    Now Angeline – if it is truelly the goal of these few trustees of making things better for their community and if they are truelly worried that these minorities are not integrating into society – then they will look at what other communities are doing to assist minorities into integration. Read the last few quotes on my post and tell me that this isn’t more productive than what some of your Carpentersville trustees are doing. Isn’t providing ESL and adopting successful programs that enable assimilation more productive towards getting Hispanics to learn English and assimilate than some token joke of an English resolution?

    Think about it a little bit – then write your trustees about it😉

  5. Art permalink
    November 5, 2007 8:23 pm

    Spanish speaking humans need to realize the world is bigger than them.

    I like how Angeline demonizes Hispanics and even goes as far as to attribute misfortunes in the African-American community to us.

    I find those, and yes, I live in Carpentersville, that refuse to speak English in America are rude, racist bigots who absolutely love to say that those that speak English are racist.

    I’m trying to follow your logic but it just doesn’t make any sense. I dont’ know anybody who hates somebody else for speaking a specific language. I have posted this a gazillion times already because it seems certain people just don’t know exactly what the word “racist” means:

    [..] real racists of all stripes — do not merely indulge in coy alliances with people of their own race. They also constantly belittle people of other races, constantly depict them as vicious and diseased subhumans, constantly concoct bizarre “conspiracies” in which these “vermin” are engaged to destroy the superior race (namely, theirs).

    See Angeline, to not “want” to speak a certain language does not make somebody a “racist”. Hating people because of their ethnic background makes you a bigot, hating other people and thinking you’re superior to them because of their skin color makes you a racist, and hating people because they speak a different language than you or because they are foreigners makes you a xenophobe. Do a couple of those apply to you?

    I have posted elsewhere that there are many reasons why people don’t learn English. If you have a family to provide for and have to work two jobs there just might not be enough time to take classes. Once you are past a certain age, it is very difficult to learn a new language. I’ll use my father as an example. He is a U.S. citizen, has taken many English classes, and still struggles with the language so please spare the “my great-grandparents came from xxx and they learned English in no time”…I have given examples on how all non-speaking immigrants of yesterday were being accused of what we Hispanics are being accused of. Italian, German and Polish immigrants were once considered “incapable of assimilating.” Studies after studies have shown that Hispanics are no different and by the second generation they speak English at the same rate others do. The first generation almost never does. No matter where they come from or when they got here.

    if it is truelly the goal of these few trustees of making things better for their community and if they are truelly worried that these minorities are not integrating into society – then they will look at what other communities are doing to assist minorities into integration

    The thing is, these trustees are not interested in integrating minorities-or rather-Hispanics into society, they want to get rid of them from Carpentersville entirely. Think about it, do you need to be an illegal alien to not speak English? I’ve seen plenty of immigrants-and not just Hispanics-that aren’t fluent in English and they are not illegal in any way whatsoever.

    Despite what Angeline says about “past immigrants”, they too were criticized for not speaking English and some states went as far as banning certain languages in schools-German in Wisconsin, for example-because of the very same fears that the descendants of those very same immigrants are ironically now having.

  6. November 5, 2007 11:45 pm

    Art – I’m sure that many people in Carpentersville believe that the issue is integration. The only thing I can do is point out the hypocricies of some of what I am reading in the news and point out the productive things being done by other communities.

  7. November 7, 2007 4:22 pm

    samaha,

    I appreciate your efforts, and find your assessment valuable to to community and understanding the situation.

    It’s unfortunate the way the community has been split by these kinds of arguments, to the point that Carpentersville can’t even get people to take money that those in other communities are lining up for.

    It would be nice to see a more middle-of-the-road approach to understanding all the issues involving immigration (not simply illegal immigration, but the whole scope of the issue).

    Keep up the good work!

  8. November 7, 2007 5:11 pm

    Thank you Chrysippus.

    I agree with a middle of the road approach. I think it is important to show the Carpentersville residents that there has been no forward thinking on the part of certain advocates of the issues that have lead the community into suffering consequences that could have been avoided had they really taken the time to consider what the effects may be of their actions. Beyond the debate of whether this is a bigoted campaign against hispanics, it clearly shows lack of management skills.

    Hopefully in the near future I’ll write up an advocacy post that will describe how to effectively write to government and local officials to express concerns. You’re welcome to re-post it at your own blog when it is finished.

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