Though often times I feel like a transplant, I actually grew up in a small working class town outside of the city. My parents moved away from Chicago in 1998, and I moved away to the east coast a few years later. That is why my return to the city makes me feel at times as if I never lived here. There are many things about the city that are the same, but some things have changed drastically; including the name of the Sears Tower (which I still don’t understand). Needless to say, there are certain things that I remember about the city that happen during certain seasons of the year. In autumn I remember the beautiful foliage on the trees. The way that the colors appear on the leaves is magical, and gives one an optimism about things to come. During the winter, I remember standing on the train platform after school and the cold gripping my hands. I still have memories of the tears from the brisk lake effect winds covering my face.
During the spring, I remembered the cool days that were a prelude to summer. However, the most difficult memory is the stomach aches I will get in the month of May. Though I attended a private highschool on Chicago’s Westside, where we were mostly shielded from the violence and the issues that plagued the public schools, I still watched the news and remembered the countless number of reports of violence and turmoil throughout the city. My stomach would ache in nervousness because I knew that people would die as a result of street violence during the change in seasons; children, men, and women. People of color. People in urban areas. There is a national study that equates the rise in the number of ice cream sales to the number of murders. Which were mostly occurring all across the country in major cities. But the city I care most about is Chicago. Recently, I mouthed “see you later” to the students at a Southside elementary school in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood the other day. Fighting back tears and worries, I smiled slightly while I touched each of them on the back saying a silent prayer for their safety. As an educator and researcher, I wish there was something that I could do to prevent the violence that grips our city. Though most of my posts are aimed at being positive and speaking on the good things that occur across the city, sometimes we must direct attention at the difficult topics, the obvious problems for which we have no answer. I am sure there are a number of opinions regarding the violence, but I have yet to hear a solution. What do you think is a solution to the violence that has plagued Chicago in recent summers?
When looking for a quote that displays the pride associated with Chicago neighborhoods I found the one below:
Chicago's neighborhoods have always been this city's greatest strength.
Wouldn't it be great to have safe neighborhoods where all children can play outside?
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