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The past two weeks, headlines around Chicago have talked about the police-sponsored ‘bait trucks’ that were outed on the internet after being discovered in the Englewood community. This past Sunday, Vic Mensa made a distinct change to the narrative by organizing an event he dubbed ‘Anti-Bait Truck’ that allegedly passed out more than 10,000 pairs of sneakers to children and young adults in the area targeted by the police.

The sun was out with strength all day Sunday with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s for much of the day. That didn’t deter eager residents though, who lined up as early as 11 AM to get their spot in line. The giveaway was in response to a truck parked not for from where the queue was forming which the police allegedly packed with Loboutin’s and Nikes as part of an elaborate setup to catch people in their own neighborhoods. According to the Sun-Times: Norfolk Southern Railroad organized the sting, which involved trucks full of shoes that appeared to be unguarded. It had help from the Chicago Police Department, but a spokesman said CPD did not help plan the sting.Three men, ages 21, 36 and 59, were arrested for breaking into the “bait trucks.” Most of the charges were later dropped.”

The confluence of free shoes and standing up to the CPD was enough to get plenty out of their homes and into the heat.

By two o’clock the stated start time of 4 PM was out the window and even as dozens walked away with smiles on their faces, plenty more still lined the fence surrounding the lot where three converted U-Haul trucks sat filled with footwear. Mensa was the undeniable leader of the effort, supported by a dedicated group of friends he’s known since his own grade school years, plus neighborhood groups like Good Kids Mad City and the Nation of Islam. It was inspirational without grandstanding, while he was flanked by a pair of security guards, Mensa was not a third-party face to the cause, he was very much in the center of it directing volunteers, helping children and generally making sure everyone who could get shoes did while keeping the peace as some folks got restless towards the end of the day. In a city that is often ridiculed for it’s young, who demonize young black men trying to do good for their communities, Sunday was an important show of force that speaks the new narrative being written by Mensa, Malcolm London, Laundi Keepseagle and the entire SaveMoneySaveLife Foundation. It’s up to the rest of us to keep that momentum going. For more, check out all of our coverage broadcast live from West Englewood with our hosts, Portia King and Joi and check back for more on the Anti-Bait Truck soon.



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