Chicago : A Tale of Two Cities

photo credit: Chicago Tribune

I don’t know how many times I’ve taken a ride down Lake Shore Drive and just had to take the same picture of the skyline or the sun rising/setting over the lake.  Still rolling along, the extravagant high-rises, vibrancy of downtown and visions of people enjoying what Chicago has to offer makes you feel like you are really a part of the dream- like this is your city. So you keep driving south beyond the city’s glory and transition from LSD to the Dan Ryan—behold an abundance of liquor stores, vacant lots, abandoned homes, and people scattered in the streets trying to push random hustles or just trying to survive, period. The despondence and divestment are incredibly depressing and a harsh reality that this is your city. And while I have been to a number of cities, Chicago is still the most beautiful…but also one of the ugliest.

Our communities have been left to perish; most of our schools serve as preliminary prison landings, drugs and crime have infiltrated our neighborhoods at an alarming rate, and our economy is almost laughable.  People have given up hope.  People are leaving in search of better lives.  And in the midst of this, Chicago boasts itself as a world-class city.
As a lifelong resident of the Englewood community, I’m not really asking for much…just the same opportunities afforded to those that live north of 47th street.  Can our students at Harper High School have the same resources as those at Walter Payton?  Can TIF funds be used to support small businesses and community support services?  Leaders- can you fight just a little harder for legislation that criminalizes and reduces the distribution of weapons and drugs in our communities?  Can we be a part of this world-class city too?

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Tanesha Peeples

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