Garfield Ridge will endure, as always
By Tim Hadac
Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound
Eight years ago, in the wake of a high-profile murder in a Garfield Ridge alley, I was the principal author of an editorial published in the Greater Southwest News-Herald, sister publication to the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound.
I recalled that editorial this week as I read a small but certain amount of grousing in local Facebook groups, days after 37-year-old Adrianna Lopez was shot multiple times and killed near 54th and Narragansett.
I think what was written back then still applies today. Anyway, here is that editorial from 2015:
“If you live in the neighborhood and are startled by, concerned about or even a bit troubled over last weekend’s murder of a man in a Garfield Ridge alley, we have this to say to you:
“Your reaction is normal, especially for good people like you who live in one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago. Crime, especially violent crime is not the norm here—so yes, it’s a shock to us all when it occurs.
“But if you live in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood and have reacted to the killing by jumping on Facebook to spread hysteria with comments like ‘I give this neighborhood five more years’ and ‘Time to move,’ we have this to say to you:
“Move. And sooner, rather than later. You’ll feel better about yourself when you do, and the neighborhood will be better off without you, because the last thing Garfield Ridge or any community anywhere needs are men and women who poison the public well with cynicism and defeatism.
“Years after you’ve left, Garfield Ridge will still be here, and it will look much like it did last Saturday afternoon, hours after the slaying occurred. We walked the sidewalks and drove down the streets—in a four-block radius of where the crime occurred. We wrote down our observations. Here’s what we saw:
“A middle-aged man cutting his grass. An elderly woman watering a flower bed. A work crew installing new windows at a house. People walking to Mass. A young mom pushing a stroller. Two girls drawing colorful chalk flowers on a sidewalk. Three boys tossing a football and arguing Bears versus Packers. A teenager unloading groceries from his mom’s SUV. A dad teaching his daughter how to ride a bicycle. A pair of women talking as they jogged west on 52nd Street.
“No cringing, no crying, no whining.
“Life goes on. Life moves forward, as it always does, in Garfield Ridge and everywhere.
“If anything, the crime, isolated and with no inherent connection to Garfield Ridge–is a reminder that yes, Garfield Ridge is exactly the kind of good neighborhood where these things rarely happen.
“So what should the vast majority of us—the good people who don’t whine and panic—do about this?
“First, there’s nothing anyone can do about a crime that has no inherent connection with the neighborhood. Things sometimes happen at random, including bad things.
“Second, use the incident to strengthen Garfield Ridge.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors on your block, build bonds with them and watch each other’s backs and property.
“Then widen the circle. Get involved at your local school, park and house of worship.
“Then join the Garfield Ridge Civic League, an old organization with new leadership that could really use some help right now.
“Join and get active with the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch and attend their next meeting. Believe us when we say you’ll enjoy hearing what some of the neighborhood’s frontline police officers have to say. They are smart, no-nonsense, effective law enforcement officials who will give you the straight story, the way all of us want. See you there?”
And I hasten to add in 2023, in the wake of the murder of Adrianna Lopez, may all of us get more active in the movement to prevent domestic violence—to make it socially unacceptable, to raise our sons to treat women with respect, to demand that prosecutors and judges are appropriately tough on offenders. One quick way to get involved is to call Officer Trevino over at the Chicago Lawn (8th) District station at (312) 747-8724. She is a smart, effective advocate and can steer you towards several non-profit groups working to make a difference in the community.
Mark your calendar
- A presentation from Oak Street Health will highlight the next meeting of the St. Jane/St. Faustina Senior Citizens Club, set for Monday, Nov. 6 at the parish center, 5201 S. McVicker. Doors open at 9:45 a.m., and the meeting starts at 10:30. Lunch with will be served, and coffee/tea and soft drinks will be available. The door fee is $5. Off-street parking is available.
The club is open to men and women age 50 and up. Annual membership dues of $15 are still being collected.
For details, call Laura Gracia at (773) 656-4564 or Joyce Caulfield at (773) 704-4396.
- I’m told the faithful at St. Faustina Kowalska Parish are planning a Mass to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is tentatively set for the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 12. Details coming in the weeks ahead.
That’s all for now.
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