29 September 2009

I Love My City, But.....

.......this violence has GOT TO STOP!!!!

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling GRAND! This almost NEVER happens as I am the anti-morning person. Mornings don't really work well with me. No speaking. No conversing. Nothing. Not til at least 11am (it used to be noon; I've made progress). But yesterday, I woke up feeling like it was 3pm on a bright summer day. Last weekend was awesome, my birthday party was a huge success and I spent the rest of the weekend with friends and family. I really enjoyed myself. So, on Monday morning, I put some pep in my step, rocked on to my Pandora on my SlimBerry*, and headed to work with all smiles. I felt great!

As the day wore on though, I learned of the killing of 16 year old Derrion Albert that happened on my birthday last Thursday (I did not watch the video) and as I kept being informed of his truly horrific death, my mind took a flashback to 2008, where I lost two friends I'd known since before my high school years, one of which I was really close with. (I blogged on it here)

The more information I received, the more depressed I became. This is so much bigger than the single death of this young and innocent teen in Chicago. This, at least for me, was the straw that broke this camel's back.

I really can't take it anymore!

I woke up this morning feeling incredibly blah....a complete 180-turn from yesterday morning. No more pep. Pandora was on but...I wasn't feeling it really. I was just....blah. My heart was heavy and I felt weary. The crime here is getting worse and something MUST be done in my city!

On the whole, Chicago needs improvements across the board. The education system is lacking, there's money in the city, but it doesn't go to where it needs to go to help properly educate our youth...and pay those educators a more reasonable salary to aid in motivating said educators to...educate in the first. I know funds aren't as available given the size of the city and the amount of kids and teens that are in dire need of a proper education, but something has to give.

If education (what should be a child's primary focus in their 'growing years') were where it should be, I firmly believe that the violence in the city wouldn't be as high as it is right now. It's STAGGERING right now. In 2008, Chicago reached a whopping 538 senseless killings of persons under the age of 25 in ONE YEAR! (Sidenote: My friend Kermit being the 500th- Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr was at the funeral; I spoke with him briefly). Now that total is worse than that and it isn't even October yet?! There's a problem in the Chi water. A huge problem.

It goes without saying that Chicago is one of the most important, most talked about, most admired cities in the entire world. And because of that, we even have a bid for the Olympics in 2016 to be held here. This is an event that will literally cost millions on top of millions (if not billions) of dollars. Funds and donations have been put in play for the bid to be placed in Chicago for a LONG time. It's a truly exciting event but.....

....my mind just says, "what about the violence toll? What about these kids?"

Mayer Daly's mind is primarily on the Olympics. "We'll deal with the kids and the education system later. That issue will always be there" he says with his actions.

......Okay...but the kids may not always be here.

It's just a sad situation overall in my eyes. Priorities are once again shifted onto what can be "covered up" whilst maintaining the "image" that Chicago is of "Elite-status"--one of the best of the best-the creme de la crop. Top dog. Whatever.

It's all smoke and mirrors.

The reality of the situation is.....yes, Chicago is awesome, but underneath that awesomeness--underneath the ravishness of Navy Pier, Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Ave, Hyde Park, Bronzeville, the beaches, the museums, the art and the culture--lies a terrible underbelly of a different kinda "culture"--a rawness that reeks of hate and pisses ignorance which breeds fear within our kids who are afraid to go to school for fear of being killed en route due to the senseless killings taking the lives of their peers right before their eyes.

I'm moved to start a non-profit organization of some sort--an Afterschool Program for our youth here in the city. I was a mentor in grade school and college. I'm moved not solely by Derrion Albert's death, but by the consistency of the deaths here in my city as a whole.

Something really needs to change. I just hope that change can be sought before it's too late...

*SlimBerry is my BlackBerry Tour

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