A Peace March by Fraternity from Bellwood to Maywood Becomes Rallying Cry for State Budget

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State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, left, leads a peace march through Maywood on Saturday. The march started in Bellwood on the corner of 22nd Avenue and St. Charles and ended behind the Maywood Police station. | Photos courtesy Rep. Welch/Facebook

Alphas in the Streets_1Sunday, June 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 6/26/17

A crowd of at least 200 people converged on the streets in Bellwood and Maywood on June 24 during a peace march coordinated by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the nation’s oldest black intercollegiate Greek fraternity, and state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) — who is a member of the Alpha organization.

The march is just the latest in a series of peace marches that the venerable fraternity has coordinated in Chicago since at least 2015. Saturday’s march, however, is likely the first one that the fraternity has held in the western suburbs.

The marchers — at least 75 of whom were Alpha men, most of them donning the fraternity’s trademark gold and black colors — walked down St. Charles Road from 22nd Avenue in Bellwood to 5th Avenue in Maywood, before crowding into the park behind the Maywood Police Station, 125 S. 5th Ave., for a brief rally.

Alpha member Byron Stewart, a Maywood native who was the village’s first African American treasurer, said that the suburbs of Bellwood and Maywood experience some of the same issues, such as gun violence, affecting Chicago.

A march, he said, is an appropriate counterweight to the problems plaguing some areas of the city and surrounding suburbs.

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Members of the Proviso East High School marching band during Saturday’s peace march organized by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch. | Courtesy Rep. Welch/Facebook

“This is something for everybody to see and something for everyone in Maywood to understand,” Stewart said. “The struggle continues and there’s much work to do wherever we are as a people.”

Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley and Willie Norfleet, Jr. both lauded the event, which they said has an immediate positive impact on the community. The march featured the Proviso East marching band as two food trucks were parked along Oak Street.

“You have a positive organization involved in a positive activity,” Talley said. “You have a congressman out there, a state representative out here, village officials out here, saying that we’re not tolerating violent behavior.”

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At least 200 people took to the streets during Saturday’s march, which was followed by a rally. | Courtesy Rep. Welch/Facebook

“This is a great concept,” said Norfleet. “It sows that you don’t have to live in a place or know a people to care about a people.”

Some of the elected officials present for the march, including Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th) and Welch, used the rally to mobilize support around state and federal problems that Welch said exacerbate the violence in communities like Bellwood and Maywood.

Illinois has been without a budget since July 2015, which has put the state on track to possibly have its credit rating downgraded to “junk” status. If that happens, Illinois would be the first state in the country to receive a “junk” rating.

The state’s fiscal troubles, Welch said, has translated into a lack of support and resources, such as the anti-violence program CeaseFire, for areas struggling with high rates of crime. Maywood’s CeaseFire program was eliminated several years ago due to a lack of funding and the village, along with virtually every municipality in the country, would be hurt by President Donald Trump’s series of proposed budget cuts and defunding initiatives.

“When Congressman Davis goes back to Washington, we need to make sure Trump knows that we have [Davis’s] back! When I go back to Springfield after this rally, we need to make sure Gov. Bruce Rauner knows that I have your support!” Welch said.

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Saturday’s march was organized by the Rho Zeta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. | Courtesy Rep. Welch/Facebook

“Rauner is trying to kill communities like Maywood by holding our budget hostage,” Welch said. “He’s trying to hold it hostage not to help people like me and you, but to help wealthy people like him! We need to make sure he knows he needs to fund our budget. Getting a budget will help us decrease violence.

“It’s no coincidence that since Rauner has taken office and since we haven’t had a budget, violence has increased. That budget is a moral document that funds our schools and gives kids who aren’t working during the summer jobs,” Welch said. “If kids aren’t working during the summer, what are they going to do? They’re going to do crazy, stupid things because that’s what they do when their minds are idle.”

“I’m going to say it to Welch, any bill that you put forward it will pass,” said Perkins. “To each one of you that have marched here this morning, you don’t know what you did. Not only did you put it on the map, you put it on God’s agenda.”

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Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Rep. Welch during Saturday’s peace march. | Courtesy Rep. Welch/Facebook

Referencing Alpha Phi Alpha’s rich history, which dates back to 1906, Davis, who is also an Alpha, said that Saturday’s march was an echo of the struggle that necessitated the fraternity’s founding Cornell University in New York.

“When times like these existed back in the early 1900s, a group of fellas got together and decided they needed to form a brotherhood,” Davis said. “They needed to get together so they could protect each other. Things were happening then just like they’re going on now.” VFP

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12 thoughts on “A Peace March by Fraternity from Bellwood to Maywood Becomes Rallying Cry for State Budget

  1. Hey Michael! On your article, the Peace March was held on Saturday, June 24th, not the 25th.

    I find this Peace March very funny and interesting that they have to wait until the sixth homicide rate that happened in the village of Maywood in order to do this march. I do recall that there was a similar peace march that took place last month in May on 5th Ave. and Washington Blvd. These peace marches is not going to solve the gun violence epidemic that is happening in America, it is going to take the commUNITY to come together and turn the criminals in to the police. They know who are the gang members and drug dealers that is plaquing the streets.

    To Welch: It is not only Governor Rauner’s fault that he is trying to kill the village of Maywood. It is the citizens not attending the town hall meetings and holding the trustees accountable, not participating their local government, and not even voting and it is going to be like that if Maywood doesn’t make some progressive changes to move forward. “Getting a budget to decrease violence?” No! Parents being parents and instilling their child values and principles is the only way to decrease violence.

    Q:) During the Proviso District #209 local election, what was your opinion about Proviso First stating that the four candidates of Proviso Together were apart of President Donald Trump that don’t promote public education, Gov. Bruce Rauner, and West Suburban Journal endorsed Proviso First?

    I find this very disturbing that this is a political move in order to get re-elected. I hope that residents of the Proviso Township can do a very thorough research of these elected officials if they want to see progressive changes. THINK ABOUT IT!

    1. This march seems more of a ploy for Mr. Welch to become re-elected as State Representative than his true concern for the people of Maywood and Proviso Township, IL. Given his poor track record as president of the Proviso Township High School Board to petitioning for elected officials to be paid after the new state comptroller was elected, I guess since none of his handpicked persons were elected or re-elected to the District 209 school board during the last 2 election cycles puts him in a very precarious situation.

      Instead of just blaming Rauner, why is Welch not getting on Mike Madigan’s case as well about coming to an agreement with a budget? Why is he not encouraging citizens in his district to become more proactive in their cities and villages and demanding accountabliity from their elected representatives, especially him? If Mr. Welch was really about progress, he would take charge and intiate some changes himself instead of being part of this governmental quagmire.

      Like Concerned Proviso Township Resident said, I hope the people of Proviso Township take a very thorough look at Mr. Welch and other elected officials before casting a vote if they want to see real progress.

      1. MQ: I couldn’t agree more what you typed. It is politics. His leadership when he was president of the board of education District #209 was horrible. A lot of the residents in the Proviso Township don’t know that ever since the defamation lawsuit, him and the board reached an agreement to pay $400,000 settlement coming from the Proviso Township residents’ taxpayer dollars. SMH I have been posting the comments almost for two years to remind the residents to come to these town hall meetings, board of education meetings and really get involved in their communities. I don’t know what is going to take for the residents to really do this.

        Also, when former Board President Ms. Teresa McKelvy who was apart of Proviso First party sent that robuss call talking about the four candidates of Proviso Together that they are supportive of President Donald Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner, and don’t support public education. SMH

        Question to Welch: Why are you in a photo with Maywood mayor, Mrs. Edwenna Perkins and you did not endorse her to be re-elected as mayor? Your newspaper West Suburban Journal endorsed former Maywood Park District executive directior, Ms. Antoinette Dorris. SMH

  2. I saw all those signs up and down St. Charles Road last week, and the one that caught my eye was “A voteless people is a hopeless people.” That doesn’t make a whole lotta sense. First it’s a grammatical nightmare. Secondly, no one is being denied the right to vote in Maywood. People in the Village don’t vote for a lot of reasons … they don’t care, they don’t think it will change anything in Maywood, or they are too damned lazy to vote! All these marches and rallies and stuff are NOT going to solve any problems in Maywood or Bellwood. All people do is shoot off their mouths about what needs to be done and offer no realistic, do-able, or sane plan to combat what they are spouting off about. If you have a vision or a plan or a complaint, I suggest you have a plan of action to accomplish the goal because without that it’s all a bunch of c**p. Remember – if you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem! WHERE ARE THE SOLUTIONS?

    1. THE MAYWOOD WATCHER: I couldn’t agree more with what you typed! In my opinion, the residents of Maywood DO NOT vote, is not just they don’t care, but because they lost their trust of the elected officials that is suppose to be accountable of moving the village forward. It is not just only Maywood, but it is Bellwood, Broadview, Melrose Park, other townships in Proviso, and just in America as well.

      It is going to take a lot of people, not just saying something…but doing something. When residents don’t attend the town hall meetings, board of education meetings, and etc. they miss out on a whole lot of opportunities.

  3. Wow, did you read the full court transcript of Proviso East fire rehab. Ms.Nettie was approving contracts without the board approval. This don’t look good at all for us tax payers. Ms. Nettie and Adams gave the construction company full range to approve payments an deal with the insurance company without them. Tax payer people need to face serious charges for misusing an over charging the school, where we pay school district taxes. The school selected the construction company thru political ties, this is stealing. Now these people are gone an we are in bad shape. Mismanagement for real… Wow Bruhs!

    1. ALPHA BRUHS: Oh yes. That was the most controversial thing that former Superintendent Dr. Collins-Hart did. Also, grading standards was changed for the teachers at Proviso East and West without consulting the teachers. What she did was so immoral and her income was more than $100,000 of her salary from the Proviso residents’ taxpayers money. Former Vice President Dan Adams, former Secretary Brian Cross, and former President Teresa McKelvy were apart of the Proviso First party during the last District #209 local election that was making false statements about the candidates of Proviso Together. Also, they were full supportive of IL State Representative Emmanuel “Chris” Welch. It was a lot of corruption when Welch was President of the Board of Education. Residents of the Proviso Township must wake up!

    2. Hey Alpha Bruhs, did you talk with your fellow Alpha Bruh, Chris Welch, about his distastrous leadership while on the 209 School Board? Did you ask him why Dr. Nettie and Dan Adams were making decisions that needed the school board’s approval? Did you ask why he was supporting Adams, McKelvey and Cross for re-election after all their shenanigans cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees that should be going to educate the children of Proviso High Schools? Did you ask Bruh Welch how his poor leadership with District 209 resulted in the State taking control of the school district’s finances? Do you believe Bruh Welch has sincere intents on reducing crime in Maywood? Or do you believe he was using his frat to become re-elected through this march?

      Alpha Phi Alpha, one of the finest African-American fraternal and community-conscious organizations around, has questionable members amongst its ranks. Dr. King and Thurgood Marshall must be spinning in their graves knowing all their hard work has is being undone by members within their organization.

      1. MQ: That is a very good question. Let’s hope that the ALPHA BRUH has some serious answers.

      2. MQ: Also, IL State Representative Emmanuel “Chris” Welch, when he was a former President of the Board of Education, District #209…he hired his brother Billy Welch as a janitor at Proviso West High School. His salary was at $100,000, as a janitor?! That is unheard of! He even hired his friends to run the Proviso Township high schools which led to cronyism, and using our tax dollars in the Proviso Township as monopoly money. SMH

  4. There is a story in which Diogenes walks the streets of Athens, a lamp lit in the middle of the day, searching for one honest man. I feel like a modern-day Diogenes because I’m having trouble finding one honest man or woman in Maywood. Oh, I do believe that there are good, honest people in Maywood except that few of those ever get elected to the Village Board of Trustees. The Proviso East fire situation focuses my light on the dishonesty and stupidity of D 209. You can just blame stupidity for so many things, then you have to come to the conclusion that theft or fraud occurred.

    I have come to believe during the time I’ve been a Maywood resident that anyone who has been elected to hold office in this town has given one thought to the fact they were/are spending MY tax dollars and YOUR tax dollars on all their hair-brained schemes. And the debacle that Henderson Yarbrough and Jason Ervin perpetrated over the 8 years sticking it to the taxpayers and living high off the hog (Jason understands the word hog – just look at him), and now it looks like we are missing another $1 million (give or take) from our Village coffers due to another scam or outright theft.

    I, for one, am weary of all the BS that comes out of the mouths of certain Trustees and other Village officials. If I know how to stop it and hold them accountable, I would do that. However, in a village that won’t enforce its own laws, ordinances and building codes, and is hamstrung by those wonderful examples of entitlement and job protection – the unions – that allow Village employees to sit on their fat, lazy behinds, the “different day, same BS” will continue to grow and thrive.

    My thanks to all those, such as The Concerned Proviso Resident and Alpha Bruhs and MQ for helping to keep the public eye on what’s going on.

    1. THE MAYWOOD WATCHER: You’re so welcome. Like I stated…it is not just the village of Maywood that the residents lack the trust, or other townships in Proviso, or Chicago, it is all other cities in America. Unless the residents attend the town hall meetings, board of education meetings, and do a very thorough research on these candidates, there is no way that there will never be no progressive changes, and people do miss out on a whole lot of things.

      During the last mayoral election in Maywood, only 2,000+ residents voted, in a village that has more than 15,000+. That is totally unacceptable! People don’t realize that being involved in your local community can make a huge difference in your community, not just the state or presidential election.

      Before the four candidates of Proviso Together swept the election and defeated the former board members of District #209 that was apart of Proviso First party…there were a lot of corruption and former Superintendent Dr. Collins-Hart. Proviso East have not had new textbooks since 1987! Some of the teachers had to make xerox copy of the textbooks to teach their students. SMH The boys and girls gym locker rooms were horrible and outdated. When former principal Tony Vallente was the principal at Proviso East, the teachers and students had a lack of trust with his leadership and the teachers were demoralized. Former vice principal Kisha Lang had a reputation of being a bully, not just towards the students, but towards the teachers, and the controversy of the termination of Pirates’ cheerleader Ms. Launa Mobley hit the nail, and Lang was terminated in her position.

      This all have been happening since former Vice President Dan Adams, Secretary Brian Cross, President Teresa McKelvy were board members and they were endorsed by the West Suburban Journal, which is owned by IL State Representative Emmanuel “Chris” Welch, which led to all the schools being apart of the Financial Oversight Panel or F.O.P. Wake up people!

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