Harold “Noonie G” Ward is outraged at the escalating violence that is plaguing Chicago’s inner city and is asking for all the community leaders to unite and have a sit down to develop a strategy to educate, mentor and employ at-risk youth in an effort to alleviate the rampart violence in Chicago and beyond. Ward is one man who can intimately relate with the violence at both the cause and effects level. Ward is a former high-ranking member of the Gangster Disciples, a Chicago area gang reported to be one of the largest criminal organizations in the United States. Once considered a prominent force of terror on the city’s South Side, Ward has been on a mission to change the effects of causes he understands and relates to on a very personal level.
Ward was able to change his life around because of mentors and education and believes other youths can do the same. Ward’s early accomplishments include working with President Barack Obama as an activist in Altgeld Gardens, and organizing Chicago’s first National Gang Summit for Peace attended by Russell Simmons, NFL legend Jim Brown and Minister Louis Farrakhan. Today Ward is now one of Chicago’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic elite with legitimate businesses throughout Chicago.
The devastating rise in violent gun deaths has also prompted Ward to announce the re-release of his DVD titled, Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G. Story. The DVD is narrated by Chicago natives Grammy Award winner Kanye West and celebrated hip hop artist and actor Common.
Ward is serious about pulling others up with him. Utilizing the hip hop community as his vehicle, he has garnered a list of noteworthy accomplishments to his credit over the years. He actively engages the efforts and support of several hip hop luminaries. The Voice’s Cee-Lo made a personal appearance at Ward’s Chicago book signing in the past and continues to support him in his new endeavors. Ward partnered with recording artist Trey Songz to create the Songz for Peace Foundation, joined with rapper/actor T.I. to speak to youth in schools and hosted a toy drive for Chicago children with hip hop artist Waka Flocka.
This past summer Ward organized a protest against Walsh Construction for a government contract that would provide jobs in the community. In the end, jobs were rewarded to the community as a result of the protest. Ward was quoted by In These Times regarding the protest. He stated, “We will help stop the violence in our urban communities when we stop the economic violence that causes far too many of our urban residents to be caught up in gang, drug and other illegal economies, when they should be working legal jobs that should come with local development contracts like CHA has. Big businesses and our elected officials for far too long have been allowed to exclude local contractors and workers”.
As a true product of the street life, Ward possesses the unique ability to connect with youth on a genuine level. With contracts granted to him by Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, he regularly visits local high schools speaking to the students and conducting workshops about violence and various life issues. Determined to implement change, he has ran for the political offices of City Alderman, State Representative and Cook County Commissioner in Chicago.
Currently, Ward is running for office November 4th 2014 as the Representative of the 29th District of the Illinois State House, as well as Alderman of the 9th Ward. He is committed to continuing to serve his community for as long as he can. “I’m no angel but I’m a standup guy who really wants to see improvements in my community,” Ward admits.
The “Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G Story” DVD is available here.