A Tiny Ripple of Hope (2021) Movie Script

(car honking)
(gentle music)
- Okay, so what I've gotten
from Jahmal has always been,
wanna do better. Not sure how.
I mean, this is when I met him.
Just, he wasn't sure how,
but he knew that he
needed to do something.
- When Jahmal comes to an
impasse, I've seen him look
at what may be the most
convenient, easiest way
and what's the right thing
to do, that's the harder way,
and I've seen him
choose the right path,
being in the right,
not just right.
- When I see him,
I'm always inspired.
Like, everything I see him do
is always for other people.
- He has a view and he's
put his stake in the ground
to try to make a difference.
And he's not on the
sideline complaining
about what's not happening.
He's in the arena trying
to make something happen.
- To me, Jahmal represents
Chicago in a real way.
Even with the dark cloud
that hovers sometimes,
you cannot, you know,
keep the sunlight out.
(glasses clinking)
- So last night
I couldn't sleep.
And, you know, it wasn't
because we don't have heat.
We just heat the
house with the oven.
Not having heat on my
block, that's regular stuff.
I still couldn't
sleep last night.
And it wasn't because
I heard gunshots.
I hear gunshots all the time.
I tell myself they firecrackers,
I go back to sleep.
Hearing gunshots on my
block, that's regular stuff.
I still couldn't
sleep last night.
Wasn't even because
I saw helicopters.
I mean, helicopters fly up
by my house all the time.
They fly in threes.
When they go up and down,
they float like dragonflies.
Rattle the house.
Still wasn't why
I couldn't sleep.
I couldn't sleep 'cause the
lights from the helicopters
were shining through
my window at 3:00 AM.
They had the whole block lit up.
You can see every bullet casing
on the ground at 3:00 AM.
I couldn't sleep because of it.
Hey look, my name
is Jahmal Cole.
I thought it was important to
start off and tell that story
because the more we're
separated as a city,
the less empathy we
have for each other.
( "Good To Be Back Home"
by Charles Bradley )
Good to be back at home, ugh
The land where I was
born, ah, good God
Good to be back
at home, shot
The land where I was born
(drum beats)
Sometimes it hurts so bad
Sometimes so good
So good
Ooh, ah, ah
(birds chirps)
(birds chirps)
(cat meows)
- Because I do so much
work in the community
I neglect cleaning.
That's like my-
That's a bad habit I have.
I don't cut the lawn,
I shovel people's snow,
I don't shovel my snow.
I'm more motivated to do stuff
for other people than myself.
I wouldn't recommend
being like that.
Man, I don't even know what
an activist is anymore.
Like honest to God, like-
it's a path that you walk
and you get so deep down
that you forget you even in it.
And by the way to be good at
being a community
organizer and activist,
you have to be involved.
You have to be so
involved sometimes
that it becomes your life.
So yeah, your own
family can be neglected
and feel neglected.
Meanwhile, you got other
families feeling supported.
So, I am guilty.
I'm guilty of that for sure.
(sink turns on)
- [Art "Chat Daddy"
Sims] 35 after the hour,
right here on The Talk
of Chicago 1690AM WVON.
You're listening to
real talk, real views-
- [Art "Chat Daddy" Sims] So
our last guest tonight is a
Chicagoan who's making
quite a name for himself.
He's the driving force
behind the organization
My Block, My Hood, My City.
Ladies and gentlemen, please
put your hands together,
for the one and only
Mr. Jahmal Cole.
- What's up Chicago?
Thank you for having me, man.
- It's a pleasure, how are you?
- Man, I'm doing
better than some,
worse than others.
- Okay.
- Can't complain.
- How do we say, you know,
this city is for everybody
go and enjoy it,
but don't go act a fool?
- 50 years after the
march on Washington,
Chicago remains America's
most segregated city.
I believe to truly
make our city better,
we need more people
to explore communities
outside of their home.
So I started taking kids
on educational field
trips around the city
and I call it My
Block, My Hood, My City
'cause I wanna expand
their worldview
from being their block and
their hood to being their city.
- How do you attract,
recruit these students?
How do you find them?
- I have an appetite
for adventure.
I go up to the schools,
knock on the door and I say,
"Hey, you know what?
"I'm Jahmal Cole.
and I'm looking for teenagers
that are most disconnected
and I wanna connect them
to more opportunities."
(crowd cheering)
- [Greta Johnsen]
Cole's group is designed
to get Chicago area kids
to experience the world outside
their own neighborhoods.
He says, kids on the
South and West Sides
might never get to China,
so he brings them to Chinatown,
they might not go to Greece,
so he brings them to Greektown.
- How many schools
were you in then?
How many are you in now?
- Yeah, so last time I was
here we were in two schools
serving 30 students.
Now we're in seven schools,
serving 120 kids a month.
(crowd clapping)
Definitely proud of that.
- You ask them
what they wanna be,
they say they want to be a
rapper or a basketball player.
Well, if I can take
them 10 minutes away
to Pepsi or Gatorade
and they learn about
consumer engagement,
they never knew that job existed
prior to that
educational field trip.
So I wanna expose that
to as much as possible.
- Nobody getting no burgers.
We trying something new.
And you gotta step
outside your comfort zone
and try something new.
I think exposure is key to
preventing violence in Chicago.
If you show somebody better,
they're gonna do better.
If they don't know no better
they're gonna choose
what's available to them.
- No.
- It ain't that bad.
You got it, all you gotta
do is push off a little bit,
push off.
(upbeat music)
- What I wanna say about Jahmal
is I like your joyfulness,
how you always come with
a positive attitude.
Also I like your integrity,
how you always
stick to your word
when you say you're gonna
do something you do it.
- So you--
You definitely feel like
you can count on him?
- Yes.
- And you're learning a lot?
- Yes a lot.
- Alright, back to you guys.
You can tell this a
great group of kids.
- Absolutely.
- Yeah.
- They got a great leader.
- Yeah.
And Jahmal we've
had you here before.
The last time you
were on the show
- I think there's a
stereotype or a stigma
that goes along with the
young African-American kids
who are from Chicago
that they're hooligans
or they're heartless
or they're soulless,
or that they were
born to be criminals.
And I just know that
that's not true.
I think it depends on
who's in their life,
who they're around,
who's leading them,
who's guiding them,
who's raising them.
(door creaks)
- How you doing?
- Good.
(door creaks)
- Y'all looking good.
I didn't know y'alls gonna
wear the same hoodie.
What's going on?
- Nothing much.
- You know family to
me is not just blood.
Family is those who we
share the same purpose.
Jahmal is an uncle,
he's a brother,
he's a cousin.
It is his duty to help
raise the children.
- What's going on with you, man?
- He's always been a dreamer,
always been about service
in different capacities,
but it was always about service.
That was the core of,
you know, whatever plan
that he was trying
to, put together
and bring into fruition.
- You know, to do what he does,
it's not a job,
it's not even a passion,
it's his life.
And he has chosen
to create a life
around helping kids
in his neighborhood.
- It is constant reinforcement
that these young people matter.
Show them their worth
and you stay
connected with them.
- What's up with Kendell?
Man, I ain't seen
him in a minute.
They talkin' about
they don't want him
to go on explorations.
- I gotta go see him.
- He too much.
- He needs to get
his act together.
He just got back in Collins.
- He do.
Yeah he got kicked out.
- He got kicked out of school?
- Yeah 'cause he just got back.
- He was threatening the
music teacher, I guess.
- He was so good.
He showed so much progress
last year, it was-
- He did but he changed now.
He doing those stuff he
don't got no business doing.
- I can't wait to talk
to him when I see him.
They talkin' about
they don't want him
to go on explorations, but I do.
I think explorations
will be good for him.
Get back around peers
doing positive stuff.
- Go crazy.
Go crazy.
- Okay.
- Hey Grandma, go crazy.
- No you need a long
coat go past your butt.
- What?
- It's open down here,
air gonna go up there.
You need something
come down here.
Now find some
coat, a right coat.
- You see my coat?
You trying to be me like me.
This a Tommy Hilfiger.
I feel real heavy.
You keepin' that one you got on?
- This the one? Oh,
this one right here?
Try and choose between
that one and the red one?
- No, this my momma's coat.
- Okay, cool.
- This mine right here.
- Beautiful.
You like it, see?
Swagged out.
- See and I got my sweater on.
- I'm going to school like-
- Nice. Nice.
(soft music)
(plastic bag rustles)
- Your receipt.
- Jahmal has had the
program come a long way
from when it first started
and it's doing great things.
Not only with just
the Explorers program
but on the community side too.
- He's really created
an environment
where people are gonna
look out for each other,
know how to connect
to each other
and know how to get in
touch with each other.
And a block like that is a much
warmer, safer place to live
than a block where the
neighbors don't know each other
and all they do is tell
you what you can't do.
(birds chirping)
(gentle music)
- My boys are strong minded,
that's one thing I know.
I don't bend them words
ever, they strong minded.
Deontae is the mentor, a leader.
He rank number one
out of a class of 80.
- I'm a big leader in
school, everybody look up-
A lot of people look up to me.
Like when people need
help they come to me,
when people wanna know
should they play their sport
they come to me.
- Everybody just
love that child.
It's a good thing.
Everybody that see him
they fall in love with him.
(gentle music)
- My twins, those is
my backbone right now.
'Cause all my kids
they left home.
They are my oldest
It's their senior year.
It's real big for them.
That's all they talked
about the whole summer.
So I know they prepared for it.
I would like to see my
babies go to college
and they pushing toward it.
And I think it's a great thing.
- Ooh, this is our
last first day.
Ooh, this is our last
first day, y'all.
- We went to Indiana, it was
It was peaceful, it was clean
and it was real like
real big streets
but like we look on the streets,
ain't no trash out there.
- It's quiet in
South Bend, Indiana.
No violence out there
like my mama out there.
So she be telling me like,
don't no polices, come around.
You don't have firefighters
trucks every day, every second.
And she was telling me that
don't nothing go on down there.
It's very quiet down there.
- The dichotomy in the city
of Chicago is astounding
and I don't think people
really fully understand that.
- When you pass by a
vacant house every day,
when that's your experience
of your neighborhood
when you walk by
and see a boarded up
or there's crime going in there,
it changes your whole
view of your neighborhood.
Your neighborhood
isn't something
that gives you strength
and support anymore.
It's something that
can be a liability
and that's gotta change.
- How do you see outside of
that immediate environment?
It's a prison in and of itself.
And so how do you make
your way out of that?
Especially as a young child.
- Okay, I will.
See all up in here?
This all the quiet area.
And then further down,
that's like all the drama at
He got a nice little one
minute walk to school.
Wish I had that.
- Chicago segregation
is, you know,
an old story about
American racism
and the maintenance and
legacy of white supremacy.
- I usually refer to it as
not as a Tale of Two Cities
but decades of a tale
of two investments.
One invested and the
other one divested.
- Because Chicago has been
segregated for so long,
the outcomes that
we're seeing right now
are the outcomes that
we would expect to see
as it relates to what you do
to diminish people's success.
- Good morning, everybody.
Good morning, welcome
back for the first day.
- Good morning coach.
- Get the word out,
we've got practice.
- Okay, we got practice.
- This is the pernicious
nature of segregation.
It breeds the very
lack of familiarity
that then perpetuates
its whole existence.
Because we don't feel
that we have a connection
with human beings that
live so close to us.
And that's how it
continues unabated.
(gentle music)
(hallway noise)
- We always by each
other, you know that?
- Where you at?
- 142
- 142? We are not by each other.
- We close to each other.
Look! We right here.
(upbeat music)
- Most people who hear
about the South Side,
they hear about the guns,
they hear about the
murders, the drugs.
They don't think about
the manicured lawns,
they don't think about
the community pride
and the soul of the
South Side, right?
(upbeat music)
The history of Chatham used
to be Block Club Associations.
It was the epicenter
for African-American
Black home ownership.
It's just a community of people
that work together towards
doing something positive.
Chatham is like
Cosbyland almost.
If you say, "What part of
Chicago do I wanna live in?"
and you're Black, you're
African-American guy,
you like, "I'm
moving to Chatham."
(upbeat music)
We is a black family, my wife
and I, we is 24 years old.
Instead of having a big
wedding, we had $16,000.
So we was just like,
"You know what,
"with this $16,000 (chuckles)
let's get a house."
(upbeat music)
- I met Jahmal at a club.
And as soon as we got into a
corner and started talking,
he just let everything go.
He was like, my mom does
this, my dad does that,
my sister's here,
my uncle's here.
And everything about his family.
So the whole conversation
was about his family.
And then the next day
I went to meet his family.
He has a very strong personality
and his characteristics and
his background is very strong
and him having a good
connection to what it's like
to be in poverty
and what it's like
to not have food on the table,
what it's like to not have a
dad coming home every night
and him having to go through
and see that kind of
abusive situations
is something he can relate to
with a lot of his kids today.
Trying find your passion
College was the toughest
I think its
disgusting people sell
their souls for nothing
And I ain't
dropping diamonds
'cause its just
my contribution
I'mma eat McDonald's. Shorty
wants some lobster fusion
(door buzz)
Pops, you know this
don't work, man.
Throw the key!
So no joke,
this is how I was raised.
I was raised in a place just
like this every day of my life.
Every day of my life
all I saw was art
and books and philosophy books.
So I don't know what people
think but I was raised
just like what
you see right here
is just how I was
raised every day.
- When I first took Jahmal
to Texas, he was with me.
Then his mother came and
took him back up here
and they spent two
years without me.
That was the first time
I ever had extended period
of time without my son.
So when I found out he was
down in Texas that night
I didn't know he was down there.
He had got jumped on the bus
and he sitting in
Dallas overnight.
So I called to him talk to
him and his mother said,
"No, he's down there."
I said, "What!"
I said, "You put a nine-year-old
"on a Greyhound
bus by his self?"
So I'm shocked now. I
call the Greyhound bus.
They say, "Yap,
he's on the bus."
I said, "When did
the bus arrive?"
They said, "It arrived at
1:00 AM the night before,"
I hopped on the train,
rode all the way
over to Dallas/Fort Worth.
And he had spent the night
in this fricking bus
station downtown.
It's all good.
I admire Jahmal's
ability to be optimistic
and empathize wholeheartedly
with the weak.
Now the paradox I find with
that is that I'm more selfish.
I would rather he do
it all for himself.
- This is why I disagree
is because everything I learned
about teaching kids in the hood,
I learned from you.
- I know.
- Like from when
you was buying weed
from kids on the
corner, you was--
- I was schooling their ass out.
- Exactly they loved you.
- I would tell them
to go to college.
- You treated them.
Them dudes love you, to
this day they love you.
And I think,
so I was always thinking like
in my head I was like
watching you become a teacher
to these kids in the hood.
When I graduated, I was like,
"Okay, I'm gonna
do the same thing."
- Me, I've told you
since day one, Senator.
Now he told me he's gonna
be governor on his own.
- It's funny you say that
yesterday, I wrote something.
I was talking about
you yesterday,
I made this song.
It was not really a song yet
but I was just writing
some lyrics yesterday.
I said uh-
- I want all my albums
about you jiving.
- I said
Listen to this.
I said, let's see if
I can say it right.
I said,
Pops used to sip the can of
Old English, tall
as PorziF#is.
We was poor-
Hold up.
I said, "Pop..."
Pops used to sip the Can of
Old English tall
as PorziF#is
We was poor, couldn't-
Never could afford
a forefinger ring
Got my first pair of
jeans at the dollar store
An upgrade from
the thrift store
I was smiling
more, phenobarbital
Bouncing off the
walls, doctor called
I was having a seizures
on my mama's floor
That was back in Waukegan
When my kitchen was the
dining room that was poverty
But we ain't see
it as an obstacle
Anything was possible
I could be the president
My cousin never had
to hustle, still did
Sure we never had the hustle
still did a little bit
Anyway, that's all I got but--
- That's what its all
about see, reality.
- I said, you used to drink
them Old English cans.
and fell down the stairs?
( "Nobody Knows" by
Pastor T.L. Barrett )
- [Phillips] Ladies
and gentlemen,
I'll be your
operator for the day.
My name is Phillips.
We're en route to South Bend.
Basically just get comfortable,
sit back and enjoy the ride.
And thank you for
traveling Greyhound.
- Thank you for traveling
Greyhound, love it.
Nobody knows
all of my problems
- I told Greyhound
one day I was like,
"Man, I was born on
the Greyhound bus."
And I really was
like not literally,
but I was reborn on it.
My mom and my dad
would separate, my
dad would storm out.
He would leave, just be gone.
A couple months later my mom
would just send me down to-
to Fort Worth, Texas
to stay with my dad.
You got two people that
are trying to make it work
in this world together
with three kids in poverty.
It's hard, man.
You don't have no money.
The lights go off, you heat
the house with the oven
light the house with the
candles, food stamps,
cousins coming to stay with you
when their parents go
to jail, it's hard, man.
It's hard when you ain't
got no money it's hard.
My dad chose to like go
to the jazz club, buy art
do different things, besides
pay bills and when that-
And my mom being the
person that she is,
being the woman that she is,
she wanted more stability.
And my dad never was really
able to provide that stability.
So it caused a lot of friction.
If she wouldn't have
sent me down there
I wouldn't be the
person I am today.
Like, you know what
I mean, I wouldn't.
I came back man at 12.
You know what I mean, when
I was 11, I had seen it all.
I remember getting to
Texas and being by myself
'cause my dad didn't
know I was there.
So I was just sitting
in the train station
or bus station by
myself for like all day.
My dad didn't come till
like three in the morning
and I hadn't seen
him in like years.
And you know, I hadn't even
heard his voice in a long time,
but you never forget your
dad's voice, you know?
And right when I seen
him, he told me that
he was like things aren't
gonna be sugar coated
when you're down here.
I remember that. That's the
first thing he said to me.
He's like, things aren't
going to be sugarcoated.
And I spent like the next
six months homeless, like
I didn't even get a
chance to grow up.
I had to grow up
then like right away.
That trip was like the
last time I was a kid.
(soft piano music)
Look at all these people
running in the morning.
They're healthy.
Long way away from
North Lawndale.
- Yeah, a long, long, long way.
- In order to inspire people
you have to have provided them
with a certain amount of hope.
We spend a lot of time being
frightened of everything.
So regardless of
where you come from,
you're gonna be frightened
until you actually get there
and experience it and feel it.
- When someone
comes in and says,
"Have you ever
been to this place
"or this area,
this neighborhood?"
I think it kinda opens
not just their eyes
but their minds, their
hearts, their souls.
And I think that is
extremely important
and not enough African-American
kids have those experiences.
(gentle music)
- We have to instill in
children from a very early age
what their trajectory
can and should be.
(engine revs)
- When I first started My
Block, My Hood, My City,
I had no experience
working in schools
or really being
around teenagers.
I think what I didn't expect
is that I would fall in love
with my Explorers.
I love my Explorers, right?
And programs are programs
but those relationships,
that's why we have such
a high retention rate
of our program, the
kids keep coming back.
I'm Jahmal man, I got a teenager
What's your name?
- Mo.
- Mo? I got a teenager of mine.
He wants me to come
pay his phone bill.
He's in my program called
My Block, My Hood, My City.
His phone went off
and he said I gotta come
back here and pay for him, so
- Oh okay.
- Yeah so that's
what I was doing.
- Let's go.
- Thanks bro.
- 33.
Ain't bad.
- It's back on now?
- Yeah.
- Oh, wow.
Good looking out, man,
I appreciate you bro.
- Nah, it's all good.
- Now Deontae, he got a
game coming up Friday too,
his homecoming game so-
Take care man.
(drum beats)
Let's go C-A- let's go.
Let's go C-A- let's go.
Let's go C-A- let's go.
Who's got my back?
I got your back!
Who's got my back?
I got your back!
Who's got my back?
I got your back!
I got your back!
I got your back!
I got your back!
(spectators cheering)
- This will be my
second year with them.
Before that they've had a
different principal every year.
I'm the first returning
principal in six years.
So they've had a
lot of instability.
And so the student body was
poised and primed for new.
- For most of the young
people that I serve
and I continue to serve like
education is the only way out.
If the educational
system is defunct
or if it is not
serving kids well
then where are those kids going?
They're going to jail.
They're going to a grave.
Or they're going to be
trapped in a cycle of poverty
that is almost impossible
to move out of.
- I think the student
body is awesome.
I just love their
tenacity and grit
and because a lot of
situations and environments
that they come from we
wouldn't necessarily think
that such lovely, bright
smart children would come from
because they do have to
overcome a lot of adversity.
- Neighborhood schools
for the last 30, 40 years
have been woefully
under-resourced and neglected.
And as a result, the narrative
around neighborhood schools
has been, get out, get out
don't stay in your neighborhood
go someplace else
or better schools.
- You are not no Matt!
Please remember, let's
get in class on time.
Please don't be in my hallway.
Tuck it in.
- [Principal Sharpe] It's
just hard overcoming years
of what was not good.
- Define gentrification.
- Oh, define gentrification.
- Gentrification is,
you know, like when-
- The rich people move
the poor people out.
- Gentrification
is when like they
What's that called?
They take down
buildings and stuff
like project
buildings and stuff,
and they rebuild them for
people of higher income.
- Hmm people of higher income?
I like how she didn't say
just white people move the
poor people out or rich-
So it kinda doesn't
matter, right?
It's the economic status, right?
So the economic standing,
if you have the money
- Then you can move in.
- You know, yeah.
- I think everything comes down
to like equity and access
and that we have to
stop thinking about
like fair is equal.
So like, the funding formula
that happened in Chicago,
Public Schools where like,
it's like you get your $5,500
per kid and every
kid gets the same.
You know, it's just
It's ludicrous.
- The way that our
schools are funded
is that the state gives a
certain amount of money,
and then a certain amount
of money is collected
from property taxes.
In those neighborhoods
in high poverty areas
whether they be
African-American or not,
that difference does
not get made up.
- Due to Chicago's
segregation by neighborhood,
you gonna see
schools that struggle
because of the socioeconomic
status that lingers
and that has been lingering
for years, decades.
- Money.
It's just money.
We are the fifth largest economy
I mean the state of
Illinois in the country.
We have a GDP of $700 billion.
And we spend dead less
in public education.
- This partnership with
My Block, My Hood, My City
has taken the vision
that I've had for Collins
and made it into reality.
This is what partnership is.
This is what community is.
What he's done is
provided opportunities.
And now I can see
the possibility.
And when a kid has vision
when the kid has aspirations,
Wow, you know, now I know that
something else is possible.
- How you been doing?
- Good.
- They hold him in
such high regard.
And it's because he's
always there for them.
I wish we had more
people like that.
- Maybe we can get you a
job at like a clothing store
or maybe something like--
- That's what I'm trying
to do clothing
store, shoe store--
- What's up, how you doing?
- Walmart or something
like doing stocking.
- Okay.
- Yeah something like that.
- Okay.
Be safe out here, man.
For real, bro
'cause don't have me coming
looking for somebody.
I don't-
like, we love you, man.
Like, we don't want
nothing to happen to you.
- [Ramon] Definitely
gotta be safe.
- That's why I be...
- Yeah man.
You said two of your peoples
got shot in the last week.
- Last weekend,
before school started back.
- What's up? That's crazy, man.
How are you doing?
- Good.
- It's good to see you. You
going on the trip today, right?
- Uh huh.
Man, bro.
Put my number in your
phone, bro please.
'Cause I don't know
if you have it or not
but if you ever
need anything, man
- I still got your card at home.
- Okay, all right, cool.
If you ever need me, man hit
me though, I'll be there.
What's up, y'all? How you doing?
When you start
something and you say,
"Hey teenagers on the South
and West Sides of Chicago
are not connected."
Chicago's not a level
playing field. It's not fair.
Teenagers are disconnected.
They don't have access to
the same opportunities.
When you say you wanna
change something like that
I want to give
teenagers from the hood
access to opportunities.
Yeah, it sounds good. People-
they recognize that sounds good
but they're not really willing
to put no dollars behind it.
So if you wanna actually do good
you have to have
money to do good.
And the only way we
get money to do good
is selling hoodies
and selling t-shirts.
Until we can afford
to get a shop
this is what we gotta do.
Yeah, I do it all myself.
Like, I'm with the
teenagers- I'm doing-
I got a great team,
don't get me wrong.
This my man, Mony
Mone, he always with me
he's been with me since day one.
So I got a great team.
But like this is
really a hands-on
it's a mom and pop non-profit.
Boom! This where
the magic happens.
(door opening)
- Woo!
- When we first started off,
we was like chickens
with our head cut off.
- Jahmal was using
everything he had.
We used to do
everything ourselves.
We was using our own
personal vehicles,
putting the kids in, going
to where we needed to go.
And this is before we
even got in schools,
we just didn't
have the funding to
get a lot of things started.
But Jahmal is articulate.
- This is our holiday hoodie.
It say My Block,
My Hood, My City
Got a couple reindeer on it.
That's Blitzen.
That's Mony Mone.
That's funny.
- It took a lot of hard work.
And I know he may not say it,
but just me being around
him and knowing it.
I know sometimes he
wanted to give up,
but he found out a way.
That's why I rock with
him so hard is because
he put it all on the line
to make sure the dream
that he had about this program
and everything gets started.
Like he was like, I fail and
lose everything before I just
give up on the program.
And he done that.
He stuck with it and the program
is doing pretty good right now.
You see what you build,
like if you got kids and you
raise them up and you see
from where you started, that
kinda makes you feel good.
Once you start doing
stuff for your community
and get outside your
box, you'll feel better.
So that's why we try
to get the kids around
and be like man,
all you ever seen was
your block, nasty, dirty
just things going on.
But once you start helping
out, you'll see the change.
You gotta put it
together so every weekend
we're pretty much doing
something in the community.
If it's putting up
block clubs signs,
helping you clean
up your community,
when it's cold outside
shovel your snow.
Crazy thing about it is,
he really enjoy doing all that.
- Another day in the office.
- [Tom Skilling] It's
a full blown blizzard,
with howling
Northeast winds that
are only going to
get stronger tonight
and into the morning
we'll have some gusts
of 40 to 60 miles per hour.
This is a giant
atmospheric wind machine
whole host of
weather advisories.
And the numbers will only go up.
(contemplative piano music)
- It's a snowstorm
right now in Chicago.
The city is clearly
overwhelmed, not just right now
but all the time when it
comes to the South side
we the last people to
get our alleys shoveled,
our street shoveled.
You know I'm
getting all kinds of
emails from seniors, with
asthma or on oxygen tanks
and them saying, hey,
they can't get out there.
They got, neural
palsy in both hands.
They can't do, they got issues.
So I'm not about to let
our seniors struggle.
So I put out a call
on Twitter and I said,
"Hey I need 10
volunteers to show up.
"I got hoodies, I got
hats, I got shovels."
The tweets we got
"liked" 31,000 times.
It got retweeted
maybe 10,000 times.
And I got maybe 75 emails
from seniors in Chatham
and, South side it was like,
"Hey, they need support.
"So really man it's
anybody wanna show up?"
(gentle music)
We'll see how many
people show up.
10 people will be good.
How you doing?
How's it going?
Now much. Let's go over here.
- We going in here?
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
How's it going?
You guys all here
to volunteer shovel?
First of y'all, I wanna
thank you guys for coming,
like straight up, thank
you guys for coming.
A lot of people you
look around they'll say,
they gonna always say
what's going on the city,
the city is messed up.
The weather is messed up.
The politicians is messed up.
I think their
philosophy is messed up
'cause instead of complaining,
we could ask ourselves what's
something simple we can do
that's going to have a
positive impact in our block?
One of my favorite people in
history was Robert Kennedy.
And he says that "Each time
a man stands up for an idea
"or he strikes out
against injustice.
"He creates a tiny
ripple of hope.
"And when those
ripples come together
"they can create a wave
that will knock down
"the mightiest walls
of oppression."
That's the same thing
we do right now by
shoveling your neighbor's snow.
That's going to create a ripple
and we're gonna create a
wave throughout the city.
And more people are gonna do it.
( "Something Real" by #MPLS )
- How you doing?
I'm Jahmal Cole
No, don't be sorry.
Don't come out here
but we gonna shovel
your whole block, okay?
- If you've ever had to
dig out after heavy snow,
you know, it is not an easy job.
- [Man] This is terrific
man, this is terrific man.
- We could call
them snow angels.
A neighborhood group
is coming to the rescue
of those unable to shovel
snow for themselves.
- I appreciate it, man.
- [Mike Lowe] Jahmal Cole,
with the community group,
My Block, My Hood, My
City, organized the army
and they came from
all over the city.
- They hit Twitter,
Facebook, Instagram
tweeted thousands of times.
(upbeat music)
- If you love what you
do, you organically
build relationships
through your passion.
Passion is what
brings people back.
Let's go get to work.
Sounds like a movie
had a ill soundtrack
Too young to go
to clubs so--
- What could you make
yourself do today
That'll have a positive
impact on your block?
And I don't care
how small it is.
My Block.
- My Block.
- My Hood.
- My Hood.
- My City.
- My City.
- Your block is a
reflection of who you are
and you have a responsibility
to what your block is.
And I don't let them,
this is a, my block.
I'm gonna do something about it.
- You could say what's
something simple I can do
that'll have a positive
impact on my block?
Thank you guys for having me.
(crowd clapping)
- [Rahm Emanuel] Thank you for
giving back, congratulations.
Something real
This something real
Something real
Music that you can feel
Something real
This is something real
- Any leader doing this work,
know this work is not quick.
It's not an instant
shot to fame.
It's not, you know, you
get a million dollars
and the next thing you know
your whole community
is together.
This is the small victories
that you have to celebrate
every moment of the way with
challenges, with barriers
and you just keep going.
- Whose little baby
is that over there?
- This is my daughter Khammur.
- Oh Khammur got smart
father. She's learning a lot
- Yeah, this is Mother Wade, so-
- [Josephine] What
did you get for her,
little seven dollar pancakes?
- She wanted some waffles
and some eggs, that's
- [Josephine] I like
that. Touch your neighbor!
All right and
you're comfortable?
- Yes, we good.
- This is a life commitment.
When you commit to this work
you're putting your not
only your entire self
be your family into it.
And out of that can come
a lot of health issues,
a lot of health issues,
mentally, physically
spiritually, financially,
like you will struggle.
- I wrote a song about what
I say, I said this morning
that I took a quarter out
my daughter, piggy bank.
I used it for bus fare
to try to get on a train.
I had 15 books in my
backpack, I'm headed downtown.
If I don't sell them
I can't get back.
And that's like my life,
like I didn't have no money.
So I had to find change in
my daughter's piggy bank
to get on the L train, to go
downtown and sell my books
in front of Foot Locker.
And if I didn't sell no
book, I couldn't get back.
That's motivation for your ass.
You'll sell books if
you don't have no money,
like- what's up?
- I put it back, baby.
I put it back.
She like-
- [Mony] Wants bank back.
- Yeah exactly.
So, I put the money back,
but good looking out.
- You're giving so much of
you, so much of your thoughts.
So much of your opinions.
So much of your
strategies to others.
If you're not getting
poured back into,
it can really be draining.
- A lot of times, social media
can make things seem so shiny
and you only really post
about the highlights
and the accomplishments,
but there is a lot of
tears in the corner
that come with doing this work.
For me to be able to afford,
to take teenagers on trips.
I stopped paying
mortgage, and um-
120 kids having access
to opportunities
And now aspiring to be more than
dope dealers on their block.
That's why I do it for,
so no, it was never um-
You know, I don't got go
around telling people,
"Oh, you know, I'm
gonna lose my home,"
or I don't have to do all that.
You wanna move somewhere
you wanna stay in Chatham?
- Yeah.
- I'll stay in Chatham.
- I guess we stayin' in Chatham.
(gentle music)
Right now we're in
University of Chicago.
It's like a community center
that we won. Codi can to
tell you more about it.
She's the one that works with
them majority of the time.
- It's the UChicago
Accelerator grant.
And we received a certain level
that gave us access
to coworking space.
So we get to use their printer
- Yes, it's for two years.
- We come here once a
week to meet as a team.
The whole team is here, so
that's Jen, that's
Mony Mone, Codi.
- Bam! Good, now.
- This what happens when you
get 400 orders in two days.
It's a good thing.
(upbeat music)
- When you are only from Chicago
and you only ever known Chicago.
You think that everything
that goes on Chicago
is innately what the world does
and that is not realistic.
So I want them to get a
sense of what it is to be out
and to explore, to get all
those wonderful things.
And I want them to know
that we're always here.
We're gonna be right here.
And I plan to be
here for awhile.
You can always come back,
but at least get the
opportunity to go see
but ultimately I would
love for them to return
to Chicago just so that kids can
feel their story and see their
story to be inspired about
what it takes to
come from Chicago,
from the West Side of Chicago
to be successful to come
back and to give back.
- You guys got six minutes
to get to class, get there.
Get there. Tuck in your shirt.
- Look, I was under the
influence this whole weekend.
- [Teacher] Under the influence?
- You mean you was sick.
- Under the weather. I
mean, under the weather.
- You wasn't under the influence
because you haven't
been doing that.
- This year going good.
I'm still number
one in my classroom.
So, it's gonna feel like home.
(upbeat music)
- [LaPassion] I'm proud of my
girls, they call me everyday.
Hi Mom!
- We just got accepted.
- There's a trip today.
- To another college.
- Yeah
Yeah they do, they
show me letters.
- They real loud when
they get their letters.
- Yeah they have a
smile from ear-to-ear.
(upbeat music)
- Okay, so this gonna
be my 14th college.
- This gonna be like my 10th.
(upbeat music)
- They want me.
- They want you?
- Let's get it!
- They want me!
Indiana State, they said,
"South Bend Indiana wants
you as a student next year
and then my tuition
is $10,000 per year
- We got the same thing,
so Indiana South Bend.
(upbeat music)
- [LaPassion] They love My
Block, My Hood, My City.
That I'm glad that
they get to experience
a lot by them being a teenage,
'cause it's hard for
teenage girls they age
to, you know, go out there
and experience the
world. It's hard.
(upbeat music)
- So, right now we are
headed back to the place
that I got shot at two days ago.
Jesus Christ, let's do it fast.
I'm gonna leave the car running.
Leave the doors open too.
- He say, when he came back out,
he was parked around the corner.
So when he came back out,
he walked around the corner,
he seen't a group
of guys in the car
and they roll past him.
And then they came back around.
- I was walking here
and I seen the car
pull by and I saw it.
It still fucks me up bro,
look at this, there's
a dead rat right here.
It's still there, it's
been there for a long time.
And that's when I
start hearing the shots
and I fell to the
ground right here.
And I took off running this way.
Like I'm running and I'm-
I'm running as fast as I can.
And I get to the corner.
I hit a left and I just dart
down this alley this way.
I just dart down this way.
'Cause my car was
parked right here.
And I just dart
down that way, man.
And that's what happened.
- I don't think it was
directed toward him.
It could have been
wrong place, wrong time.
But we wanted to reach
out to them brothers,
know what I'm saying?
Let them know like man, you
almost took a good brother
from a lot of people
on some foolishness.
If it was a mistaken identity
or whatever it was,
it was foolish.
- Woo, that gives me
the heebie-jeebies
Yeah, that's what
happened to me man.
That's what happened.
Luckily I escaped
with some bruises.
- It kicked it in overdrive.
After initial shock, it
just made him go harder.
It just made them be like man,
I got to have a real good
connection with these kids.
And I have to have a
real good connection
with the community.
(gentle music)
- How many times you gotta see
yellow tape before you say,
oh, well this one yellow
tape right there? Man!
How many shots do
you have to hear
before you become desensitized?
You tell yourself
they firecrackers.
How many times you gotta
walk by a vacant lot,
full of trash before you
just become disengaged?
You don't even notice
the trash is there.
Something's wrong.
And if you are walking
by a vacant lot
full of trash and
you've got a stroller,
and you pushing a
baby in a stroller,
does the baby grow up
thinking the trash is regular?
The answer is yes, they do!
You go to the doctor.
The doctor hits your knee
with a reflex hammer.
It there's no knee
jerk reaction,
there's something wrong with
your central nervous system.
If you walk in
front of your crib
and it's trash in
the front yard,
you don't pick something
up, something wrong.
something wrong with the
community's nervous system, man.
Man you ever been to somebody's
house you watching TV
and a mouse went right
out in front of the TV.
It happened so fast.
You can even act like you ain't
noticed and you say, "dang!"
And the person's
house that it is,
they're so used to have mice,
they ain't got no reaction.
There's no jolt of fear,
no shame or embarrassment.
They have no physical
reflexes at all.
Couple of minutes later,
the mouse come back out,
this time it bring
his friends with him.
He said, come out,
y'all. It's safe.
They don't mind.
They're used to
things being decrepit.
That's the same thing
that drug dealer says
on 79th and Cottage.
Right in front of
Happy's Liquor.
He serve his drugs all month.
Next month he say,
"Come on out here y'all,
the store owner don't mind."
He ain't got no
physical reflexes.
He used to things
being decrepit.
We can sell all
the drugs we want.
That's what the police
officers say man,
come to the community, shoot a
kid 16 times they don't mind.
It's not regular.
It's not regular to
have to order your food
through three-inch bulletproof
glass windows every day.
If y'all just ate
your cheesecake
through a bulletproof
glass window,
you'd be traumatized.
It's not regular for every
billboard in the community
to promote cheap divorces
and $6,000 tax advances.
It's not regular for there
to be 15 currency exchanges
and no banks.
How am I supposed to save, man?
It's not regular for
there to be a liquor store
on every other corner, I
might as well get drunk.
It's not regular for
there to be Paddy Wagons
parked outside the front
of the high school.
You have to take off your
belt, take off your shoes,
go through a metal detector,
just get in high school.
It's not regular.
(upbeat music)
- So final data collection,
just put on everyone's radar
that we're gonna be in late May
And then most of June we'll be
Jen and probably myself
will be going to the schools
to have kids fill
out the post survey,
so we can do all of our end
of the year data collection.
We're also looking- Jen's
been putting together
a survey for liaisons.
So getting some feedback
from school staff and whatnot
to be able to include
with our data.
- I don't want to be treating
our students like lab rats.
I don't want them to feel like,
Oh like, "It's the
end of the year.
"Let's take all this data.
"I don't really have a
relationship with Codi.
"She don't come on Explorations,
"but I know Mony. He's here."
I think- ask this
question to yourself,
"how are we making a
difference right now?"
Like if you think about
Danyel or Marquell, anybody
what do you think beyond
the attendance in school?
Like how would you say
you're making a difference?
- Given the demographic,
given that we're talking
about level three schools
which is a different markation
from some of the other programs
that might do,
something similar,
data collection and
success might need
to be reported differently.
- Smaller nonprofits don't
have a whole evaluation team.
Like they don't have folks
that are worried about the data
but they're so important
because when you're
talking to funders
or you're submitting these,
creating these impact statements
like the numbers matter so much.
- What are the measurements
and what are the goals?
And what is your logic model
and what is your
theory of change?
And all these like things that
have a nonprofit leader
jumping through hoops
to try to explain,
it's the relationship.
Like how could you like,
look, if they want to eat
they could come over and eat.
I'm not trying to
get funded for that.
This is just the reality of
some of our young people.
- We as a team and
potentially like
potentially with our board,
need to sit down and say like,
what are our goals for our kids?
By like participating in the
program, like, what are we
what do we want for our kids?
Is it we want them to be more
engaged in their community?
Is it, we want them to have
jobs outside of their community?
Is it, then we need to like
figure out what we want?
- How do you know
what we did is right?
- What do you mean?
Like the surveys and whatnot.
I mean, we don't,
we're just trying to
collect data to have data.
I mean, right now we just
don't have any good data.
- I'm telling you, man, the
people that I see that is
getting all these grants,
it's not because of their data.
Like they're literally like
they have relationships
you know what I mean?
And this is like,
I'm not saying we
don't have to have any data,
but what can we do to
set ourselves apart?
How is My Block, My
Hood, My City different?
Are we gonna put something
together and say,
"Hey our program boosts
attendance rates by 10%,
"our program boost
graduation rates by 15%."
And that's gonna be so
compelling that we're gonna get
a $500,000 grant.
Or can we do something where
we utilize our strengths a
little bit more to say, um-
- Those things are not,
I guess, measurable
in the world of funding, but
the impact is so significant
that it's no way we can
express that on paper.
- The nonprofit community has
been set against one another
competing for funding.
- I've seen programs that
really didn't reach kids,
but was funded.
- It sends a message
that we can be led
but we're not allowed
to get the funding
that comes from our tax dollars
to lead our own communities.
- You want to make sure
you're having an
impact on young people.
You're having an
impact on families
but constantly
having to worry about
if you're gonna have enough
funds to do so is stressful.
- When you've got that
much responsibility
on your shoulders,
it's a burden to carry.
And he has created a
program that has a life,
like it's his life what he does.
- You gonna be famous
or infamous, huh?
That's how I'mma be one
day, just like Harold.
Be like Harold running.
Love it.
When I identified board of
directors, I chose them.
They're very, very intelligent.
We got lawyers, we got doctors
we got people that
work for foundations.
We got people that
work as heads of banks.
We have very, very sharp people.
So where I needed help
with accounting, legal fee
I just got people that can
handle that on my board.
Now we're having growing pains
because they're
implementing policies.
So technically I
can't drive the van
for personal use no more.
I can't go pay Deontae's
his phone bill no more.
I can't take the Twins to
get their hair done no more.
I can't take Danyel and pay her,
turn the lights back
on in the house.
I can't just say here's a
laptop 'cause you graduated.
I can't do those things,
that's technically illegal.
They're right.
They are right.
That ain't right
but they're right.
- [Announcer] Mr. Jahmal Cole.
(crowd cheering)
- I don't talk spreadsheet talk.
I'm not good at it, but
I got to learn because
this is the
challenge of my life.
If I can't do it with them,
I can't be in politics.
And I wanna come off ungrateful
'cause I am grateful
to what they've done
but at the same time,
I don't feel excellent.
I feel like I wanna go home.
And I feel like I wanna go home
and write about
how depressed I am.
That's what I wanna do
'cause it will be a release,
but I'll fake smile, and
do whatever I gotta do,
but I'm going through a lot.
(contemplative music)
So this is what I get,
probably once a month
once every two months
I filled this out 10 times at
least over the last two years.
The games that the banks play
is every time I fill this out
I send it to the bank.
They send me back and say,
"Hey, you're missing
some documents."
And then I send it
back into the bank
and I never hear from
them for two months.
I've done this 10 times.
Like it's like 10 things
you need to fill out.
They want check stubs.
They want your taxes.
They want a letter of hardship.
They want a five- 4506 Form.
I mean, I know by heart,
I've done it so many times.
I've done this 10 times. In
March- on about March 5th, 2015
our mortgage went into default.
So that was my decision.
And I was like what, man,
I need the money.
I need the money to
start my program.
I'mma bet on myself.
I'mma risk it all.
And my $2,000 a month
I put into my mortgage,
I'm put $2,000 a
month into my program.
I can't be the only person
that's going through
financial issues.
I might be one of the only
people that's sacrificed so much
but at the same time it's
worth it, I'd do it again.
I would, I do it again.
- Hey what's up.
Good, I didn't know
you were coming.
(crowd cheering)
- My name Dimetriana Chambers,
I will be attending Benedict
College in the fall.
[Man] For real.
You know! I will be
majoring in biology.
With a full ride.
(crowd cheering)
- My name Deontae Lewis,
I'll be attending
Harris Stowe University
on a full ride
scholarship to a major in
Mortuary Sciences
and Culinary Arts.
(crowd cheers)
- My name Dominetrius
Chambers in the fall of 2018.
I will be attending
Benedict College.
I will be majoring
in Criminal Justice
to become a prosecutor
and with a full ride.
(crowd cheers)
- What's up.
- Why, you building a train?
- No, I'm building a castle.
- Nice, sorry I hope I
didn't mess with your castle.
Do I think the bank could
have done a better job?
Yeah, but I shouldn't be in
this situation, that's the-
I'm always preaching
one Chicago,
77 communities but
only one Chicago.
My Block, My Hood, My
City gets love everywhere.
I love people everywhere.
My mantra is I'm gonna be
Mayor of Chicago one day.
So it's only gonna help me to
to live in another
community area.
And just like I did Chatham.
Figure out the
history of that area.
What are the community groups?
What do they care about?
Yeah, it's gonna-
It's a, man-
When I think more about it
though, it's going to suck.
Not being so South, but
I'm gonna stay connected
obviously, you know.
I'm just not the type of
person, to like, to lay down.
Yeah I'm just not, I'm
not about that like,
when people that are
spreadsheet thinkers
try to box me in to say,
"Oh you're an idea
person" like that-
Ideas change the world.
You know what I mean, it's
not, that's ridiculous to me.
Like you're an idea guy.
Like you just wake up one day.
I have a great idea, man-
they don't see me going
to the coffee shops.
They don't see me shaking the
hands, kissing the babies.
They don't see me
running the 5Ks.
They don't see me paying the
light bills, the phone bills.
They don't see me spending
eight hours on a weekend
going to six
different block clubs
and talking to them about
organizing for speed bumps.
How many signatures did it
take to get a stop sign?
Oh, why don't you like
the new LED lights
or do you want the
fluorescent lights
to light up your porch?
You don't see me talking
to block clubs about
how to incentivize
people to recycle.
So I get ideas from
going to the community.
It's not, I get my stories
from the community.
So when somebody says,
Oh, you're an idea guy-
It's like, like no dumb
fuck, like I'm a hard worker.
That's how I get the ideas.
Like you can't get ideas by
just waking up with a good idea.
Like this is ridiculous, man.
So don't let nobody
tell you that you,
that a spreadsheet is
going to change the world.
Ideas are going to change.
That's all you need
is a good idea.
And then you got to have
the faith to see it through.
(slow music)
- Everybody's perfect.
- Ain't nobody perfect.
- Oh my god, you're so
mean, nobody is perfect?
I'm not perfect?
- Ain't nobody perfect.
- I'm not perfect.
- That's an illusion.
You are perfect to me.
- Why you say you not perfect?
- Well I'm not, but
you better than me.
- Then why you say
in front the stage
with that camera your
face, are you famous?
Yes get that through
your head, you are on TV
- I'm not famous.
- You're on TV.
- I'm definitely not famous.
When you look back at this
documentary when you get older
you be like, "man, daddy was,
- I saw you.
I just saw you on TV right now.
- Yeah I mean being on
TV don't make you famous.
- No I just saw you
on TV right now so,
I just saw you TV
- I'm not famous.
- Yes you are, I just
saw you on TV, how come?
- Well, I'm surviving.
Actually, I'm doing better
than that, I'm living.
- Then how come-
Turn your phone on. I have
to show you something.
(soft music)
- Some in my eyes.
- Go get up, put
your face off in-
- No, that's gonna
make it run more.
So you might just leave
right now and come over?
'Cause we not even ready.
- So said we do we are ready.
- We are ready but
- All right.
- Y'all look great.
What's up?
- Waiting on Demaje to get here.
- Who's that?
- You know, y'all
gonna do your thing.
Do your thing, Sisters.
- Oh, y'all want to
come out to Drip.
- Yeah, but hey, y'all
can still come out Drip.
That's y'all's song?
Came through
drippin' drip drip
Came through
drippin' drip drip
Came through
drippin' drip drip
Diamond on my wrist,
they drippin' ice
Came through
drippin' drip drip
Came through
drippin' drip drip
Came through
drippin' drip drip
Diamond on my wrist,
they drippin' ice
(dog barks)
(hip hop music)
- You look so pretty!
- Thank you.
- You look like a princess.
- Thank you.
I don't know, I don't know
Where you from?
(where you from?)
Throw it up
Goin' nuts, goin' dumb
Everyday I'm ballin'
So you know I'm scorin'
- Oh, you guys look so cute!
Oh yeah yeah yeah
Oh yeah yeah yeah
Somebody real
is hard to find
Somebody worth all your time
(crowd singing)
- They say the
city is messed up.
The weather is messed up.
The economy is messed up.
We know their
philosophy is messed up.
Hey, what's something simple
you can do to have impact?
Hey, how you guys doing?
We're looking for
volunteers to sign up for
organized for block clubs on
the South side of Chicago.
- My Hood, My Block, My City.
- Yes sir, yes sir, yes sir,
y'all have a good day, man.
What's something
simple you can do,
to have a positive
impact on a block?
It's a healthful exercise
for me. I'm depressed.
So this is the only way
I can get back to like,
to stayin' humble.
Things aren't going well, I'm
taking it back to the basics
'cause that's what I wanna do.
I'm willing to be out
here with the people
'cause that's who I am.
And so somebody has
got to do something
instead of just
talking about it.
They say, we need a new mayor.
I think we need
new philosophies.
- I gotta go.
- I gotta go too, I
wouldn't be out here
if I didn't love y'all,
we need volunteers.
What could you make
yourself do tomorrow,
that'll change
everything in the city?
- What?
What could you make
yourself do tomorrow
that change everything
in the city?
- Rahm just did it.
He just announced he
ain't running again.
- We don't need a-
- Best news we-
best news all day.
- No, no, it's not.
We don't need a new mayor.
The mayor- changing the mayor
is not gonna do anything.
We're still gonna have
the same systemic issues.
We don't need a new mayor.
We need a new philosophy.
Hey, what is y'all
perception of me?
Do I look like I'm struggling?
I don't look like
I'm struggling?
I am actually. My home
is in foreclosure,
everything's going bad,
but I'm on a block
trying to help out.
- [Train Announcer]
Doors closing.
(slow music)
Oh, you put the
spark to the flame
- My baby.
I've got your
heart in my sights
- Don't know why you
ain't wearing your onesie.
We all gotta be in
gear, every day.
Nobody knows it
- Every day we get it.
Every day we gonna
be in gear, right?
She like, "I don't
wanna be doing that."
I'm starting my own brand,
that's what Khammi told me.
Nobody knows it
- That's all I'm saying.
She's just like her
mom, she's really witty,
I'm not witty, you are
quicker than me already,
but- I don't like it.
- Why?
- 'Cause I'm the authority
figure around here.
- You see?
She get that from her mom.
And tell- who is we talking
about in the car the other day?
- Fred Hampton.
- What did Fred Hampton do?
- He said, if you make
fun of black people,
you're stupid
and if you make fun of
white people you stupid.
- Exactly. All people
are the same, you know,
racism is not real.
It's all about your
socioeconomic status and money.
- What?
- It's all about the money.
- Oh my goodness, yeah.
- She learning about
Fred Hampton and Angela-
- Yeah, I was-
- [Lady] Thank you for
calling Freedom Mortgage.
(speaking in Spanish)
I see you are calling
from a phone number
listed on your account,
to access your account using
this phone number, press one.
To access- please enter
the last four digits of
- I know it by heart
I do it every day, so
like I know exactly-
- You entered-
- Thank you for calling
Freedom Mortgage
this is Brenda. Whom do I
have the pleasure of speaking?
- My name is Jahmal Cole.
- [Brenda] I'm
sorry, what was that?
- My name is Jahmal Cole.
- [Brenda] Okay Mr. Cole,
how are you doing today?
- I'm doing better than
some worse than others.
How are you doing?
- [Brenda] You know, I
livin' the dream here.
- Cool.
- Just couldn't be doing better.
I'm telling you that right now.
March 1, 2015 payment
total due as of today,
$62,236.21 total.
Does not include attorney's fees
and costs. The reason
for delinquency
is unemployment, correct?
- I'm not an employed anymore.
- Well, it was the
original reason, right?
- Yes, that was.
- Okay.
All right, so what can
I do to assist today?
- I've been calling for
the last month in regard to
the loss mitigation department
and getting my home modified
and I've submitted the
requested documents.
And I wanted to know
has a decision been made
on postponing the sale
of my home tomorrow,
which is- the date is tomorrow.
- [Brenda] Today.
- Excuse me.
- [Brenda] Today, hold on.
Obviously it's
postponed in that-
from what I'm
looking at right now.
- Obviously?
- [Brenda] I think- yeah, yeah.
Obviously from
what I'm looking at
you can't see what I see,
but they did postpone
it yesterday.
So this is the good news.
They've postponed it.
So no, it did not sell.
- Great.
- [Brenda] Yay!
- I'm trying to just
be composed here.
- [Brenda] Yes, I'm
gonna decompose you.
They did not sell
your home today.
- Thank God, okay cool.
- [Brenda] I'm just like, I'm
looking through the notes,
I'm like, I know what
he's calling about, like
They did not sell this house
because I can see your notes
right now and I'm
gonna let him finish,
I'm gonna let him finish.
- Why are you doing that to me?
That's crazy.
- 'Cause I didn't
want to interrupt.
- Oh thank you,
okay so what's the-
- [Brenda] 'Cause it's rude!
- Oh man well, okay,
cool. Good looking out.
What's the good news?
What's going on?
- [Brenda] They're assigning
you a single point of contact.
And it looks as though
it's going to underwriting.
- Brenda you done made
my day, that is amazing.
Thank you, Brenda.
I'm never going to put myself
in this position again.
I would tell you that. I'm
never going to do that again.
- [Brenda] You struggle, and
you struggle, and you struggle,
and you keep hoping
things get back together.
- That's mean so much though.
I love this community
and I love my home
and I don't ever wanna sell my
home or even be moved out so.
- [Brenda] Well, I'm very
glad I can put a smile
on your face.
You have yourself a great night
and Mr. Cole just go
enjoy your family.
- All right, peace Brenda.
(soft music)
- Good morning, parents,
graduates and staff.
Welcome to the class
of 2018 graduation.
(crowd cheering)
- My name is
Dominetrius Chambers.
It's a joy to have- to honor
to introduce the speaker.
(crowd clapping)
He proved to us that,
our future has no
restriction and no limit.
Please join me in
welcoming Mr. Jahmal Cole.
(crowd cheering)
- Today, I brought everybody
that's graduating a journal,
on the cover of those
journals, says the words,
"My success story."
And I want you guys to
take really good notes.
When you guys graduate from
college four years from now,
I'm looking forward to reading
your success stories, okay?
If you can make it in Chicago,
you can make it
anywhere in the world.
If you can make it in Chicago
you can make it anywhere
in the world, okay?
We know its true, 'cause
every time I turn on Instagram
I see a rapper that
comes to Chicago.
What's the first thing they do?
The first thing they
do is they go live.
They say,
"Hey, I'm walking around.
"I'm walking around, I
thought it was bad here.
"I'm tough, I'm walking around."
But you guys, y'all actually
had to walk around every day.
Y'all order your food through
bulletproof glass windows
like it's regular.
German shepherds sniff you on
the train like it's regular.
Helicopters fly above your
home like it's regular.
This is not regular,
but y'all made it.
How many of y'all
have a list of goals
in your iPhone right now?
Like, having a list of goals
will change everything for you.
'Cause having a plan, not
only tells you what to do.
It also tells you
what not to do.
If you can make it in Chicago,
you can make it
anywhere in the world.
(crowd clapping)
Congratulations to
the class of 2018.
Keep on doing more than
people expect, I love y'all.
(crowd clapping)
- [Announcer]
Dominetrius Chambers.
(crowd clapping)
Dimetriana Chambers.
(crowd clapping)
Deontae Lewis.
(crowd clapping)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
the class of 2018.
(crowd cheering)
(slow music)
- Hey baby, what's going on?
- [Khammur] Hey.
- You all right?
- [Khammur] Yeah.
- What's going on?
- Yeah, I'mma come back
to get you on Friday morning
for school. What you mean?
You gonna be ready?
- Well because tomorrow-
well, first of all
I don't have a car right now.
Somebody on my team has the
van, so I don't have the van.
And then tomorrow your sister
has a hospital appointment.
So your mom is going to
take Kennedy to the hospital
and you got to go to school.
- You just like your
mom, very witty.
Listen, no, I didn't
forget to bring my car.
My team member has my car.
But anyway you need to
focus on your reading
and leave the iPad alone.
That's what you need to do.
So tomorrow we gonna
read six more pages okay.
No, no Friday we're
gonna read six more pages
and then we're gonna
go to- on Saturday
we gonna go see grandma, okay?
- I'm staying in a hotel.
- What's wrong?
- I'm gon- baby,
Daddy gonna come back.
You know, you gotta be
strong for your little sister
and I love you
and I'm definitely
gonna come back.
You could always call
me if you need me
and I'm gonna see you,
okay, this is not forever.
This is just for a while,
a little while okay.
- [Khammur] Okay.
- All right, I love you.
- [Khammur] I love you too.
- All right.
Yeah man, I am in a hotel
room in Streeterville
because I've, I mean
I think I've been incredibly
selfish since I've been 22.
And I think that I always
like been tunnel vision
and tunnel focused on what
I wanted to do in my life.
I want to be mayor.
I want to bend history,
I wanna do this.
And when I met Tiff,
I never really asked her
what she wanted to do.
Yeah, all the public life
and all the political events,
all the interviews.
I think me focusing
on that and my drive
made her feel like I didn't-
like I love that
more than I love her.
And in my mind I was,
how could you not love
me if I'm doing it?
It was that.
So, yeah anyway, I think
you do that for some years,
for 12 years
and it- starting this
organization has put me
into financial debt.
I've almost lost my house
now I've lost my family.
You don't-
Yeah, it's impossible to
create change in Chicago
without sacrificing your life.
And you- I don't know
if this could have been
another way I could
have done it, but yeah.
That's why I'm in here, man.
I'm in here because
I refuse to see her
not happy no more.
And I want her to be happy
and I know I don't
make her happy.
That's why I'm here, so.
(soft music)
- For him to accomplish
what he's accomplished
in the way that he's done it.
You know, you have to be able
to put any type of fear, worry
or concerns to the
side and just go do it.
It's not that he's
this big, bad dude.
And he's not scared of anything
but he's committed to
his mission, committed
to his purpose.
And it's by any means necessary.
- He starting the story.
He starting to change
those negative stories
but we have to help
him complete it.
- We just have to keep
moving forward in order
to have all those
who are following us,
to move forward.
And that's a lot of,
lot on your shoulders.
- It's an empire that you
have to continue to build
for the people, for
your communities.
And we didn't get
here overnight.
And we definitely can't
get out of it overnight.
- Is it worth it to
sacrifice everything
for what you believe in?
Well, what is everything worth
if you believe in nothing?
- Some people might
say it's not worth it.
And some might be, might
people say it's priceless.
I personally think
it's priceless.
And I think Jahmal certainly
thinks it's priceless.
- I think what Jahmal is
doing is extremely important.
Some people may think, oh
that's a very small gesture
or what's the big deal?
It's huge, it's invaluable.
- It's hard work, it
doesn't get a lot of notice.
But the work he's doing is
what leads to real change.
Sometimes it's slower
than it should be
but it's real change.
- Are you ready?
Oh, strike one.
(slow music)
Strike two.
- Last strike?
- Last strike.
It's a good throw though.
Kid's got an arm.
Hoo- I got this!
I got to teach you
how to run bases now.
See, she can hit.
My daughter hitting
like Mickey Mantle.
Oh! You gotta run the bases.
I'm gonna get you.
Home Run. You played me
on purpose. Good job.
- Okay.
(soft music)
- What up, man?
- How you doing, bro?
You ready, bro?
Okay, okay, okay.
You need some help
with some stuff?
- Yeah, probably. Yeah.
- How are ya? I'm fine.
- You gotta be proud.
- Yes, I'm very proud.
I'm gonna miss you.
- Miss you too.
- Be good.
- I will.
Hey, you amazed.
You gotta feel good.
The first part of
the journey is done.
- I know. I did it. I know
The first part is done.
Now we gotta support
them from afar.
- Yeah, he gonna get all my
support, everybody's support.
(door banging)
- Good to go.
- Yeah, he love his Ma.
I love my baby too.
'Cause I know he's
he's going to do great.
I never had no doubt. I knew
he was gonna do excellent.
I'm so proud of Jamal.
He did everything
he said he gonna do
from this journey on
and that's a man of greatness.
(soft music)
- What's going on?
- Hi Jahmal
- How are you doing?
- Good.
Is that y'all's bags?
- Good morning, y'all!
- How's it going?
- It's okay.
I'm good. My babies leaving me.
- Give me a hug,
you got to be proud.
- I wanted to go with y'all
but I appreciate y'all.
- All right. It's early.
(soft music)
You're 17 years old and you
going to a whole 'nother state
and you from Chicago.
It's like, you don't
know what to expect,
but you don't realize that
after two or three days
in South Carolina, it's going
to be, it's gonna be lit.
They gonna be finding friends,
they playing pool with,
ping pong, eating pizza.
You ain't never going
to want to go back.
That's what I don't
understand, why people
don't want to go to college.
It'll be a culture shock.
It will be a weather shock.
It will be a climate shock.
It will be a class shock.
There'll be a lot of shock, but
That's a good thing, man.
Hopefully it's like-
it defibrillates them
having some hope.
This place right here
is- it's good for you
but man, only so many boarded
up windows you can see.
(soft music)
- I'm tired, y'all!
(soft music)
- [Connie] I don't
know what to say.
I don't know how to act.
- I'm proud.
I can't put it into words.
All I know,
I'm happy and sad
at the same time. I thought
I wasn't going to cry.
I must have fooled myself.
My babies gone.
I don't know what to say.
I don't know how to act,
but I'm proud of I'm proud.
I think I'm more happy,
proud than I am happy-
sad they gone, but I'm
proud of my babies.
I appreciate everything he did.
He got them through it.
(soft music)
- [Jahmal] If you want to
be great, you gotta read.
You gotta volunteer.
You gotta live it.
Ain't no other way.
There's no shortcuts in it.
It's not.
It's lonely.
And it sucks, but
there's no other way.
And you can't do
it any other way.
That's my life, so.
( "Buddha" by Macy Gray )
- Fightin' out of
the Chatham corner
for the last ten years, we got
Jahmal, activist in Chicago.
- Y'all wanna rumble?
Let's do it.
If it's what you feel, my
advice is that you show it
So baby cry, if you
hide, how will I know it?
And I pray every night
that my dreams come true
Will I finally be
happy if they do?
Hurry, hurry up, my
days are numbered
This is what I feel
when I stand in the sun
And I think of all
the bad that I've done
And I'm looking ahead,
and I'm looking back
And I realize
it's where I'm at
Hurry, hurry up, my
days are numbered, yeah
But I'm alright now
I'm alright, I am, I'm alright
Yes I'm alright now
I'm alright, I
am, I'm alright
Yeah our future
is in the air,
and the past is
in the ground
But I'm alright now
I'm alright, I
am, I'm all right
It's what you know,
it's what you don't,
you watch the news
And very soon you're
amazed and confused
So you put on your
cape to save the world
But it's a big and a
cold and a shady world
Hurry, hurry up, our
days are numbered, yeah
But I'm alright now
I'm alright, I
am, I'm alright
Yes I'm alright now
I'm alright, I
am, I'm alright