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Rapper Vic Mensa Gives Away Thousands of Shoes at Anti-Bait Truck Event

“Cop these shoes kids.”

Tamia Heard

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Kids in the West Inglewood community of South Side Chicago were gifted new pairs of shoes during an “Anti-Bait Truck” event on Sunday.


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.

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.”

 

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Tamia Heard is a rising senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tamia is majoring in communication studies with a journalism concentration. As a southern woman, she enjoys Saturday's filled with college football and good food!

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