Kids in the West Inglewood community of South Side Chicago were gifted new pairs of shoes during an “Anti-Bait Truck” event on Sunday.
… violent weekends, showing just what they think of us. Strength is in numbers and power is to the people; we know our worth, and apparently the world does too. Shout to @shaunking & @anwarhadid for the solidarity pic.twitter.com/ub8PxCc9pZ
— vino valentino (@VicMensa) August 23, 2018
The SaveMoneySaveLife Foundation (SMSL) founded by rapper Vic Mensa put together the event after news stories and footage emerged of Norfolk Southern Railroad and police placing bait trucks in the neighborhood. According to police, the bait trucks filled with Nike shoes were left near the rail yards with only a single twist tie to hold the door shut. The placement was made in an effort to catch individuals in the act of stealing.
Members of the community were outraged that the police resorted to this tactic, especially in an area that is extremely under-resourced. A representative from the Norfolk Southern Railroad, however, argued that these types of operations help to crack down on theft patterns within the neighborhood.
Mensa’s SMSL Foundation released a statement saying that the police used the bait trucks to inappropriately “lure and arrest impoverished and underprivileged men, women, and children that might stumble upon the truck and try to take them.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois also responded to the bait truck incident with the following statement:
“Police in Chicago must focus on building trust and better relationships within the communities they serve, not engage in stunts like bait trucks. The Chicago Police Department admits that it can’t solve murders and violent crimes because communities of color don’t trust the Chicago Police. These stunts won’t help. Instead, police should focus on reform and improve outreach to communities that have too often been the target of police abuse.”
In response to the bait trucks, Mensa and his foundation coordinated the “Anti-Bait Truck” shoe giveaway for those in need. Thousands of shoes were donated by athletes, musicians, and supporters from all over the world. Sunday’s event also included free food, performances, and free haircuts as kids in the community prepare to head back to school.
Crowds of residents attended @VicMensa shoe giveaway in West Englewood. Mensa’s foundation organized the event after police used a ‘bait truck,’ to lure potential thieves earlier in the month in the Englewood neighborhood in #Chicago. Story: https://t.co/VfkxjMCL7Y pic.twitter.com/n07R8daEPv
— armando l sanchez (@mandophotos) August 27, 2018
Laundi Keepseagle, co-founder of SMSL, was overwhelmed by the outpour of donations. “It’s been so beautiful,” she said to the Chicago Tribune. “I’m so excited for these kids to get shoes for the new (school) year.”
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