Sunday, February 19, 2012

violence in chicago

i just watched a disturbing documentary about youth violence in chicago.
i haven't really been able to process my thoughts and emotions.
but a couple things that it made me feel are...
i miss chicago.
i miss the students i had and teaching there.
the video helped me to understand some of their conflicts that were so foreign to me, that i sometimes couldn't wrap my mind around.  like, why would you be so mad that some girl bumped into you in the hallway.
i miss driving around and seeing neighborhood convenience stores, parts of town where all the stores had spanish names, or chinese names, or korean names, or polish names. 
i miss the ethnic diversity.
i miss the public transportation. [dont get me wrong, i love an attached garage.]
i miss walking.
i miss downtown.
i miss the hugeness and the community all mixed up into one.
i miss talking to people for whom english was a second language.

this video also made me feel sad for children, children who grow up knowing nothing but violence, children who are victims of an epidemic.  (but not sad in a i'm-white-so-i-pity-you-minority-child way)

this video made me wonder how, when i lived so close to all violence, i lived so seemingly far away. 
this video made me wonder if there are any solutions.
i was AMAZED at some of the work this organization is doing amongst youth in Chicago.  not fake, pretend-to-be-problem-solvers work... like, real, in your face work where the rubber meets the road. and people put their guns away.  but it's not always a happy ending.

i don't fit into that organization's approach because i wasn't a gangbanger. but could i do something to help? could you?

this post doesn't begin to describe the thoughts rolling around in my head.

watch here if you want. it's long, close to 2 hours. (p.s. there are 2 versions... broadcast and the vsn. with the original language. if you haven't heard an extreme amount of cussing in a while, they're not kidding when they say "graphic language.")

anyone have thoughts about the youth violence epidemic? anyone impacted by it? let me know if you watch it and have reflections?