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

I’m from the Ida B. Wells public housing development where there are plenty of stereotypes. We are more than stereotypical, though. We are from an environment that despite its negativity, we have plenty of pride and knowledge. In general, this is a hardworking community that has much more to offer than what they outside world sees. We all aren’t gangbangers, drug users and criminals. This community is striving to move forward and past all of the obstacles in our path. We’re looking to make a change.

I’ve always wondered how it’s so easy for someone to stereotype other people when they don’t know them personally. If you’ve never lived in the Ida B. Wells how can you talk negatively about it or its residents? It’s disrespectful to call it a terrible neighborhood if you’ve never lived in it. I feel it’s wrong to judge a place this if you haven’t had any personal experience there. Like they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover. You have to experience the good and bad and then tell us what you think, but until then please don’t stereotype us all. We know what we are and we’re proud of it. We are a Black community that is rapidly changing. The buildings are disappearing around us and very soon the old Wells will be gone and a new development will stand in its place. In this new place, hopefully outsiders won’t be so quick to judge us.

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Categories: UYIJP