Letter to the Logan Square Community (in response to Meek Mill Friday 13th Show) from Eddie Carranza
The Pipeline is sharing this letter with the permission of Eddie Carranza, owner of the venue.
Logan Square Community-
On Friday, local neighbors probably looked out their windows and saw something that looked pretty scary, with all the lights, police, fire department, people outside and the street closure. I’d like to be clear on the specifics of what happened so that the community is not alarmed. Friday night we hosted an urban Hip Hop show, it was very small we were only at 28% capacity. There was a scuffle inside the venue between patrons, and congress security quickly removed the individuals from the venue. These types of scuffles are common at concert venues across the country. Our staff is trained to recognize them, diffuse the problem, and get the individuals out of the building in a safe manner.
Friday night was different, because there was “additional security” paid by the Alderman himself, who reacted poorly and prematurely. This happened due to their inexperience and lack of training in handling these types of situations, (which is why we have consistently stated we don’t need their “volunteer” paid service). The Alderman’s security called the police AND the Alderman himself to hurry over to the venue. Somehow, (still unknown to Congress) upon the arrival of the Alderman and an exaggerated number of police larger than we’ve ever seen, arrived along with the fire department. The street was shut down, paid ticket holders were not let inside while the fire department had to perform their task of investigating the venue under the allegation it was over capacity. Congress was only at 29% capacity, it felt like an empty theater. The fire department agreed and let the concert continue.
Our theater had a great security presence that night, 40 well trained and very strict security in total, many including off duty Chicago Police. They are trained to handle shows 3-4 times that size, and last night’s show was only at 29% capacity (relatively small by concert standards). The Alderman either didn’t believe in our security work, or thought it wasn’t enough, because he notified the public prior to the concert he would be hiring 2 untrained and inexperienced security guards (paid for out his own pocket) , and this would keep the neighborhood safe. This WARNING email was sent out in regards to one of the musicians, a Chicago minor who is under house arrest at his Grandmother’s home on the south side. The email gave the image that he, his music, or the crowd he brings is dangerous. This kid has not been charged as guilty, it’s a pending legal matter. We have a system in our country that says a person innocent until proven guilty.
This WARNING email sent out to the community is NOT a good reflection our countries political system. Instead the email evoked fear and concern to the neighborhood, and branded the concert as potentially dangerous due to the type of music, toy guns, foul language (none different than what I’ve heard used on the alderman and now on video) the crowd it brings, and a pending legal matter that has yet to be resolved. I understand that not everybody likes or understands rap music, nor do they have to. Music is a freedom of expression and this local Chicago kid’s music is becoming recognized all through the music community. A judge who works for our US legal system granted this kid permission to come and perform, the judge didn’t think the artist was a threat to the community so why did the Alderman?
Untrained security working in or around The Congress Theater is a BAD idea, whether they are paid or volunteer. Their poor decision to phone the police massively disturbed the concert, made patrons angry, woke up neighbors, offended reporters, blocked traffic, started rumors about shootings, caused the promoter to lose money and the ticketing agent to offer refunds to those who couldn’t get inside, made the neighborhood look dangerous, finally further damaged the reputation of a kid whose case has yet to have been decided, and finally adds to more negative press for congress theater.
This is mad behavior and it needs to stop. It doesn’t matter whether Friday’s sequence of events was racially inspired or part of a personal vendetta against Congress. This has gone too far. We are good for the community, we bring in a lot of business, we give back to our neighbors, we donate space for the farmers market, we give to charities. Any accusations, racially driven or false rumors leave people to believe both Congress and the neighborhood are dangerous. We work hard to build our image and others appear to be working entirely to destroy it.
Owner- The Congress Theater
2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Sent from my iPhone