Close to 20 years ago, a young producer for National Public Radio gave two young boys recording equipment, some basic lessons and sent them out to tell a story of growing up on the South Side of Chicago. The result was the unforgettably heartbreaking audio diary “Ghetto Life 101.” … At the end of the series, Jones promised he’d be back. “You’ll be hearing from me again, ’cause I’m an up-and-rising activist.”
…LeAlan Jones is 31. He graduated from high school, graduated from college. He’s legal guardian to two young nephews, one of whom is a star quarterback at Simeon High School, where he volunteers as linebacker coach. His freelance journalism career is on hold while he runs for office. By the conventional young-black-man-growing-up-in-the-ghetto narrative, he wasn’t supposed to make headlines again until he was arrested or shot. Instead he is doing what he said he’d do. The only difference between what he talked about in 1993 and what he is talking about now is the scope.
“The only difference between the world of high finance and drug dealers are the commodities they deal. The mentality is the same,” he told an interviewer recently.
Making a profit is the bottom line, whether it’s selling crack on the corner or packaging risky mortgage loans into risky investments. Jones has seen the resulting devastation from both ends and he’s clear about the politics behind which end gets high bail and which end gets bailed out. That’s why the Green Party appeals to him…