Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rowing, Policeman, and Legal Advocates!

You might ask, what do all of these elements have to do with each other? Well, these were all covered within a day for the 100 Black Men of Chicago mentees on April 10! The mentees from the south side and west side combined and met at the Austin YMCA. The day began when two rowing experts, Casanova and David, from the Chicago Training Center CTC ( explaining the history of rowing, and performed a demonstration for the mentees. They covered the key elements of this sport, including physical fitness and teamwork. It was then time to encourage the competitive juices in the mentees. The mentees competed in groups of four to see who was the best rower and finally competed against the experts. The mentee with the best time was Darrien Moore, who did well, but was no match for the experts from CTC! However, he might be able to hang with them after more practice!

Next, the mentees learned about interacting with the police and knowing your rights from: Officer Sheldon Sherman, Attorney Bryan Miller, and ex-convicted felon Randy Rider.

Officer Sherman from Chicago Police Department's CAPS unit ( discussed what police officers are thinking when they come into contact with a group of youth. His main point was that officers do not “hold court in the street”, but must make quick, life-altering decisions in a split second based on the actions of the people they encounter. He suggested that young people remove themselves from positions where they might come into contact with police by letting go of certain friends and “hang out spots”.

Next, Brian Miller from First Defense Legal Aid, FDLA ( to the 100 mentees. He provided counter point on how youth can protect their rights when coming into contact with police. Brian reviewed the Miranda rights that everyone has when dealing with law enforcement. He advised the group that young people must be polite and respectful to police, but do not have to answer any questions except to identify themselves and say “I want my lawyer” if pressured to answer questions which cause them discomfort or might incriminate them. He provided the group with FDLA emergency contact information if they ever need a lawyer.

Randy Rider from Keeping it Real Law Project (
was the final speaker, he was imprisoned for over 11 years for a crime he did not commit. Randy discussed the experience that had put him into that situation and reemphasized many of the points Mr. Miller made. Additionally, he advised young people not to put themselves into positions where they could be accused of wrong doing by trying to live the guns and drug lifestyle. He also provided some practical tips on what they could do if they were pulled over.
Thanks to all of our speakers.

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