Ban DEM Bustas

Ban DEM Bustas

When you hear the name “Holly”, what does it make you think of?

Trees? (you know it’s that plant with the red berries)
White girls?
Peaceful sunsets?
“Love and HipHop: “Holly”wood?


I’m sure many things come to mind. Holly kinda has a pleasant twang to it. Then when you add Holly Playlot Park it really brings on images of sheer happiness and joy. You can almost hear the kids screaming and laughing as they run into each other and fall down. You can see the smiles and moms sitting on benches playing Oprah’s bootleg version of Candy Crush, called Bold Moves (which I unfortunately do play – the positive affirmations won me over).

Bored moms doing boring things. let's just face it

This is a judgement free zone.

I’m sure it doesn’t make you think of fiends, drug dealers and/or gang bangers. But unfortunately for me, it actually does. Holly Playlot Park is a park in the Oakland community, which is so close to Bronzeville, that I just consider it a part of Bronzeville. It is located on 4046 S Ellis. And it was just refurbished and rebuilt through Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Play! Program in 2016.

My son and I went to the park before it was rebuilt and after, and we were both super excited by the huge difference the refurbishing made. I mean the park is brand new. It is clean. I mean it’s really nice! There were no Flaming Hot Cheeto bags and/or Arizona Ice Teas left unattended. I felt like this was a great sign. Progress.


But for some reason every time we went to this park it was always pretty empty. Not a lot of kids. And I always wondered the reason why. It’s not in a bad neighborhood. It is in walking distance from my son’s daycare. So something was just not adding up.

The answer to this mystery for me was solved recently after the last time we visited this park. After picking him up from daycare, my son and I sometimes go to play at the park. Most times it would be just me and him or another family having a great time. The park is quiet and kind of off of the street. It’s like a secret play zone. It is between two houses so you can’t even see it right away. It almost has a private feel.

This private feel can be perfect for a mother with a two year old who barely knows what a slide is let alone knows how to go down one. But this private feel unfortunately is also causing another problem. Adults with no kids, making this park a chilling spot for whatever.

I think he went through this tunnel to the slide like 80 bazillion times.

I think he went through this tunnel to the slide like 80 bazillion times.

I have gone a few times, and out of like five times going, two of the times, I will walk up and see two grown ass men and maybe a random woman with them. All without kids and all making my park experience with my kid pretty awkard.

Because the park is kind of hidden, someone could easily get robbed or harassed and no one would see this right away. As Chief Keef would say, “ Dem does things I don’t like.”

What’s the point of refurbishing a park but not making sure the residents using the park are safe? I asked myself this question a lot and I was like what can I do about this? I mean what if a kid or even group of kids went to the park by themselves to play without an adult and these random ragamuffins were there? That is an uber unsafe situation.



So I decided to look up the person in charge of Holly Playlot Park on the Chicago Park District’s website and call the Park supervisor. His name was Sidney Lewis and he was very friendly and understanding. During this conversation he asked me questions about the “bustas” that were at the park, like were they drinking?

My answer was no but they did have a bottle of something but it wasn’t like they were drinking Hennessy straight out the bottle or had the infamous brown paper bag. It is similar to what all the young kids and grown ass people do at Music Festivals and outdoor events. Fill a bottle of water with vodka and then call it a bottle of water. Right…


He also asked me what time were they there? I told him between 5 and 6pm. But who knows if that’s when these people are always there. I mean I came there at like 3ish before and they were there. It is hard to gauge.

He said he completely understands my concerns and he would try to parole the park more regularly. He said he would stop there after work to see what’s going on in the park and check things out. He did tell me though that he can’t just kick people out of a park that is made for kids even though it has the name “playlot” and these individuals probably don’t really “play a lot”. Since it is a public park they have to follow public law which states anyone can be in a park, period. He said he is bound by law NOT to tell them to leave because honestly they are not doing anything visibly illegal. Which I have to admit they weren’t.

I didn’t see them do any drugs or sell any drugs but you and me both know, that we know when something fishy is going on. He also said he would speak to Officer Nash, who is the Chicago Police Officer in charge of both Mandrake and Holly Playlot Park and ask him to patrol this area more frequently. I mean, this Sidney Lewis guy was really trying. But to me, it truly came off that his hands were tied. So what do I, as a parent do in this situation?


I already complained. Do I stop taking my child to their neighborhood park because of these adults? My anxiety regarding this issue got me to turn to the only one who could help me…Dr. Google. And you know what Dr. Google told me?


Dr. Google pulled up multiple articles and blog posts about the Los Angeles City Council Member, Mitch O’Farrell. I read an article on written by Elissa Strauss that talked about Mitch O’Farrell’s proposed law banning adults from playgrounds unless they’re accompanied by children. In the article, she writes that the reason he proposed the bill is because he was hearing complaints from his constituents about drug dealers loitering in local play areas and he wanted to keep parks “free of creepy activity.” According to Councilman O’Farrell’s bill, offenders would be issued a citation for being in the park without a child. Is he wrong for this? I honestly don’t think so. (Note to self: Joy call your city council member – her name be Sonia King)

There already is a law in New York City that bans unaccompanied adults from playgrounds. Kudos to them. I mean why are you at a playground, without a kid to play at said playground, in the first place? I don’t get it. I really don’t care what the hell you are doing? Parks have tons of benches and places for you to sit that aren’t in the playground area. Why you gotta sit by the kids? When the fiends and drug dealers were at the park with my son I wish there was someone I could call or something I could do. I wish there was some form of retaliation. Even if it is a measly ticket. I mean it is something!

Some people use the argument that this law automatically labels unaccompanied adults as pedophiles when they could just be on their lunch break. Yea I get this. And yes this is kinda messed up. Nine times out of ten, kids get abused by someone they know not by some random stranger at the park. woodsmenBut if anyone has seen that movie, The Woodsmen, an exceptional movie with Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick, that is about a sex offender and pedophile (Kevin Bacon) who is trying to rebuild his life and develops a high risk friendship with a young girl. While at the park, he realizes that a man loitering near a schoolyard is a child molester (Greg Kinnear) prowling for his next victim.

Face it, child molesters and pedophiles do use parks as tools to lure kids in. We all know this and this movie actually brings this to light. Now yes, not every person who is near a playground has bad intentions for kids. Some people just want to play chess or eat doughnuts. But as adults we can’t give everyone the benefit of the doubt because unfortunately a lot of kids do, and this could be a danger to them. Laws like this, protect kids and their families. And I 100% support them and even though it might take a long time I really do hope this bill passes in LA like it did in New York, so that Chicago can be the follower that it is and pass the same law here. (i.e. bag tax started in NYC and so did the sweet drink tax)

My primary concern is the safety of my child not the feelings of a grown ass person doing whatever. I want to enjoy the park with my kid. Not constantly keep my eye on some random adult that is just… there.


But according to a lot of people supposedly this is a huge a problem and they don’t agree with these type of laws. Unaccompanied adults at playgrounds is already a law in New York City and adults without children have received tickets for playing chess near a playground and unfortunately eating doughnuts. Trust me, the only crime that a doughnut has caused me is a few extra lbs around my waistline and I get that getting a ticket for eating a doughnut near a park is a little on the extreme side.

Dem doughnuts musta been super good for the ticket-receivers to miss this clear as day sign.

Dem doughnuts musta been super good for the ticket-receivers to miss this clear as day sign.

Getting a ticket for eating a doughnut anywhere let alone at a playground, at a park does kinda suck, I admit it. But I feel for these people put I kinda don’t feel for these people. In New York City parks there is a sign around the parks. It is as clear as day. A kid could easily read it, so I know these adults had to have saw it too.

To the people who got tickets in NYC, I am sorry that happened to you but you gone have to get over it. There are tons of parks and areas within parks that are not near playgrounds. Boo,Head that way. Move around. Sit your doughnut eating ass on a bench in the park that is surrounded by a lake, or trees, or a beautiful flower garden.


You don’t have to sit by a playground. Especially since there is a sign clearly prohibiting it. Parks are huge. Sit in an area designated for all. Not in the playground designated for kids. Sorry not everything is for you. If you wanna sit there that bad… Here’s a solution, have a kid. Now that’s a glazed doughnut anyone can enjoy.



But let’s get back to the REAL point. With the increasing violence in Chicago, we need laws like this to keep drug dealers and gang members from hanging out in parks. I know this law would not be a solve all because a lot of gang members, drug dealers, and fiends have kids and they bring said kids to parks, while they do their dirty work. I mean if you watch the OWN show, Queen Sugar, you will  know that in episode one, Ralph Angel left his kid in a park while he robbed a convenience store. Bad stuff happens in supposed safe areas. But passing a law like this at least would be a start. I mean the number of shootings at or near local parks in Chicago is astronomical.

Not to sound corny but it’s time to Ban dem Bustas. Writing this makes me think of the movie Meteor Man. I feel like an extra in the movie, who finally gets the balls to said up to the leader of the Golden Lords (i.e. Earnest Moses, James Earl Jones’ character).

I mean in the movies of that time black people came together to clean up their own communities and make things better. No one turned a blind eye. Hopefully my post makes you think. Write something. Do something. Reach out to your city council member or alderman. Make a change. I mean having this individualistic attitude backfires. We all could be superheroes like Meteor Man simply by using the power of our voice.

Do you agree with the proposed law in LA to ban unaccompanied adults at playgrounds? Do you think this same law would work in Chicago? Why or why not?

Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

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