Stepping Up

by Elizabeth Jordan ,Youth Reporter from Ujima

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

Why is it that not even two generations have passed since the civil rights movement and African Americans, as a race, have settled for just enough to get by?

Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equal rights for Blacks to simply be able to use the same bathroom as whites, use the same entrances as whites, and for equal education.

Rosa Parks fought for us to be able to sit where we want on the bus.

Generations before us fought for equal living and now that they helped get those rights for us, we have now settled.

We have settled for rat-infested homes, roaches crawling in the living room and garbage-filled environments.

In our Parkway Gardens, there are hundreds of units there that have families living with nasty, uninvited guests and gang members.

The government gives that site money for those units every month but they don’t take the money and get rid of the infestation.

They also don’t use the money to get more security to stop the drug trafficking and all of the violence that occurs.

I, as a witness, have been over in that neighborhood and have seen the children have to play in the parking lots where cars are entering and exiting all day, every day. I’ve seen one security guard cover a four-block by two-block neighborhood. I’ve seen dope, crack and weed dealers standing in front of the buildings serving all ages.

The elevators are death traps. They rarely work and when they do, you have to hope and pray that the elevator doesn’t get stuck. If it does, you better be praying it doesn’t get stuck between floors.

It’s not just here. It was going on in the Ida B. Wells homes (R.I.P) before they were torn down. It’s happening over in LeClaire Courts, the Altgeld-Murray Homes, and any place where there are high rises full of low-income housing and tenants.

This raises the question of why are we not using our legal rights to live in a better living environment?

Why are we not protesting and stepping up to say, “I want to live better than this!”

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