Neighborhood

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Iridescent lights showed shadows on the cold, wet sidewalk. They illuminated my path as I sauntered through a Chicago street. In front of me, swift and agile bodies swayed towards their destinations. A blurred collage of briefcases, long coats and backpacks reigned over the city. From my left, a speeding bike urged my body to swirl towards the bridge rail.

The lake called my name over the worn-out, metal bars. The water beckoned for me to listen and admire. At that instant, the sun scribbled its signature in the sky, signaling its departure. Scarlet and deep orange colors blended over the lake until artificial lights conquered over nature’s palette.

Sensing more to explore, my feet perked and pranced away. As I headed deeper into the heart of the city, a loud pounding sound hanged over my ears. The sound suddenly got steadier. It seemed to mark the beat to an unseen battle. As two drumsticks flowed up and down, they collided with a white, gallon bucket. The man seated behind the bucket seemed nonchalant and free like an ascetic monk beneath a tree. His cascading locks and humble clothes provided a contrast to the fast-paced world around him.
First CPS Student Murdered In 2009
CHICAGO (STNG) -- A 16-year-old boy fatally shot Thursday afternoon near his Southwest Side home was the first Chicago Public Schools student to be slain this year, and the 17th this school year.

My soul walked and searched. I peered over my shoulder and saw a mannequin. Her features were graceful yet limp and lifeless. She was draped in a long flowing coat and wore a shiny silk suit. Her long, slender legs modeled a lavish, over-decorated skirt. Her blue eyes cried out her grief to every passerby.
CPS students mourn slain classmate
March 19, 2009
More than a thousand Simeon Career Academy students flooded a street behind the high school today, wiping away tears and solemnly listening to the names of the 29 city public school students killed this school year.
I found the subway that would lead me back home. Down the steps I went and soon I was standing as close to the train tracks as possible. The breeze, accompanied by the train, fought with my hair. Twink! A door shut behind me and I found a seat next to a window. At the farthest corner of the train cart, a man rested his head on the windowpane and wondered in dreamland. I pondered if he was still aware of his presence in the train cart. Could the human mind decipher reality or was reality shaped by one’s perceptions? Inquiries blotted the canvas of my mind like Picasso in a creative frenzy.
“This is Kedzie,” the voiceover pronounced. My brown sandals pounded the sidewalk as fast as they could move. It was not safe to walk in these streets at night. To the people on this side of the neighborhood, my Hispanic heritage made me an enemy to them.
“Andre: My brother taught me what the life is for a young black man. Pimp, deal, whatever. Learn what colors to wear. Gang banners. You can sell to one corner, but you can't sell another. Learn to be quiet. The wrong word can get you popped.”
While I walked, I saw old beer bottles strewn on the streets and guys standing on corners. I neared my house, picked up the mail and glanced at the fresh graffiti stained on my house wall. The wall had been repainted two times this week already. Before I had even time to rest my feet on my bed, I heard the gunshots.

The shrinking noise of the ambulances poured through my bedroom window. I dragged my body back outside to check out the latest shooting. Within moments, my hair became drenched in water. They sky seemed to be empty except for the patches of gray here and there. Suddenly, the sky turned crimson red like the cheeks of a naughty child.


“I grew up in a community filled with gang violence, where steel mills were closed down and affected the whole community; students dropping out…these are issues that you still find in the Latino community.” –Victor Garibay (Council of Latino Affairs)
The police wrapped our sidewalk in yellow tape like a morbid gift. A boy no older than ten had been shot and rushed to the hospital. The next morning, a man was lying on the ground across the street. He was waiting for an ambulance after being beaten with baseball bats for who knows how long. The perpetrators of the assault had fled after being spotted by a worried neighbor.
Munoz Sponsors Assault Weapons Ban
State Senator Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation that will ban assault weapons in Illinois, including all .50 caliber rifles and large capacity magazines.

This is the place where I grew up. Gunshots and ambulances ruled over the night, while school fights and tension ruled the day. Though this inner-city neighborhood seems today to be a nightmare and a hell to live in, I believe it can be repaired. Since most of the population is below the age of twenty-five, it is up to the youth to take back their neighborhood. Youth should educate themselves on the issues plaguing our streets, organize themselves and create change for the better. We all need to cooperate because the next kid you hear about in the news could be your own sister or brother.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”





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