To whom it may concern,
I am angry, but I long to understand your angst, those empty pangs of disaffection that color your actions, yet offer no remedy to answer the question of why you lash out.
It is obvious that you are hurt, you bleed because you are cut deep, sadly your rage does not offer the luxury of reflection.
That being said, how can others ask you to stop when they are at a loss as to what powers you? I’m inclined to think that you are crying out for help, but your cries are falling on deaf ears.
Many would argue that you are beyond redemption, that you should be cast away onto the proverbial trash heap.
I beseech you to understand that my love and affinity for you is unconditional, but I admit that I’ve been guilty of harboring the same thoughts. But know this, there is a part of me that won’t allow me to give up on you, because you never allowed me to do so during my formative years.
I understand you, I’ve worn your shoes, I’ve been in the cut, I’ve walked your path, I had flirtations with the darker angels of my nature, but I didn’t succumb to their pull. Like you, I lost friends to the unforgiving tempest of the streets, but I can tell you that the battle is far from over. You are engaged in an ethereal game of tug o’ war and I implore you to pull harder!
I speak from a unique vantage point, because I am you.
The resources that are at your disposal are far greater than what I had to contend with. There is more than what you care to know, as the world is so much bigger than the block.
Growing up I was called everything other than a child of God by the systems that you rail against.
I was a thug, menace, inner-city kid, labeled as learning disabled, told I didn’t belong and pummeled with countless variations of the “N” word, but being called a “future statistic” cut deeper than any word hurled at me.
I burned with rage, but discovering that I could be more that the grim visage that others attempted to superimpose on me extinguished and obliterated those barriers. I took delight in everyone and everything who said that I wouldn’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t to do the opposite, to flourish! I earned awards, pocketing undergraduate and graduate degrees, but the honor that I hold in the highest esteem is being a son of Chicago, I want that pride that I harbor for our home to beat as feverishly in your chest as it does in mine.
I want you..
To be – to live…
On your own terms, not to fit this insidious caricature.
I feel compelled and moved to put this out into the Universe.
Defying expectations is a far greater addiction to labor towards. There is no conquest in the street, no honor to be gained as you stain them with blood, no joy in linking yourself to affiliations that will not allow to discover who YOU are and more importantly WHY you are.
I want more for you and it is my intent to be, as contagious and infect as many of you as I can.
Because you are worth it.
Please lift your head up, grab a chip from ground and place it on your shoulder and dare the world to knock it off as you claim excellence as your birthright.
I love you, I believe in you, I embrace you Chicago.
I am you.
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