Smiling on the South Side

By Brenda

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I live on the South Side of Chicago in a neighborhood called the Back of the Yards. I have lived here for 10 years, and I have seen what most kids my age have never even thought about.

Everyone talks about how bad the South Side is, but they never realize that we love our home. Come to the South Side and experience living here yourself. Not all our days are dark and cold; we have bright and warm days, too.

Lizbeth lives in the Back of the Yards. She says, “Well, I’m pretty comfortable here. Like, I go outside with people I’ve known for a while and I know they’re not gonna hurt me. They’re going to protect me. Once you know someone for a while, you feel like it’s family.”

Although Lizbeth knows some people might be scared of Back of the Yards, she says, “Well, I see gang signs and graffiti all over, but it doesn’t really scare me because as long as you don’t mess with them, they don’t mess with you.”

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The South Side of Chicago is not as bad as it seems. Yes, someone might break into your house; you might get robbed, and people do get killed. That doesn’t happen every day.

Besides, the South Side is not the only place where these things happen. People get shot in every corner of the Earth. It’s just our background that makes the South Side of Chicago look really bad when something happens over here.

Cordell lives in Englewood, another neighborhood on the South Side. Cordell says, “I’m very comfortable in my hood.”

Cordell admits its a bad neighborhood but still likes it because he feels like he’s at home here.

“I see a lot of shooting going on, but I still don’t want to leave. I go outside with my friends and play ball and make it home safe, even though people claim you’re going to get killed if you simply go outside.”

I asked Cordell why does he call Englewood his home, and he responded, “Because my parents grew up here, and I grew up here.  It’s home. Nowhere else to go and feel complete.”

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People who have never even been to the South Side because they’re too scared judge us. They take pride in their wealth and forget about other people’s value.

If something bad happens here, other people really have to make sure to say, “It happened on the South Side.”

Our streets and neighborhoods look the way they do for a reason. We have been left behind. Just because we’re on the South Side doesn’t mean we’re the worst people or place on earth. We have our good sides.  We smile about life, too.

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20 Comments

  1. Dawn Ramos

    June 19, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing your stories! I enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about each of you, and I look forward to getting to know more about each of you next school year. Be safe! Ms. Ramos

    Reply

  2. » Smiling on the South Side

    July 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    […] Check out their story over here […]

    Reply

  3. Liz Monge Pacheco

    July 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I appreciate your honesty and reminder that we are all human and within that things aren’t bad all the time.

    Reply

  4. Liz Monge Pacheco

    July 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I appreciate your honesty and reminder that we are all human and within that things aren’t bad all the time.

    Reply

  5. Margaret Small

    July 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Your vision is from your heart. You are a great writer. Please continue to share the truth. Ms Holmes is a great teacher!

    Reply

  6. Margaret Small

    July 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Your vision is from your heart. You are a great writer. Please continue to share the truth. Ms Holmes is a great teacher!

    Reply

  7. Danielle N. Lloyd

    July 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I thought that was just beautiful. I totally understand how u feel and where ur coming from. Because I live on the west side and people say the same thing about us. I have lived on the west side for 45 yrs and I have only been robbed once, and I was 23 yrs old, a guy snatched my gold chain as I sat in my car. I have not worn one since. I am now 45 yrs old and haven’t had any problems since. Like u said I don’t bother them and they have no reason to bother me. Keep Smiling guys:-).

    Reply

  8. Danielle N. Lloyd

    July 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I thought that was just beautiful. I totally understand how u feel and where ur coming from. Because I live on the west side and people say the same thing about us. I have lived on the west side for 45 yrs and I have only been robbed once, and I was 23 yrs old, a guy snatched my gold chain as I sat in my car. I have not worn one since. I am now 45 yrs old and haven’t had any problems since. Like u said I don’t bother them and they have no reason to bother me. Keep Smiling guys:-).

    Reply

  9. tabby case

    July 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story and loving your home!

    Reply

  10. tabby case

    July 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story and loving your home!

    Reply

  11. Janne

    July 21, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Great perspective! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  12. Janne

    July 21, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Great perspective! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  13. Siri Larsen

    July 22, 2014 at 1:40 am

    You make a compelling case to look beyond the headlines and see the people who are living their lives as best they can. Wonderful!

    Reply

  14. Lizbeth Leo Vargas

    September 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    This is the best one I read so far. I think it shows people the truth behind the stereotypes that people have made about what we do and think. Thank you for sharing I hope you make more stories like this.

    Reply

  15. Lizbeth Leo Vargas

    September 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    This is the best one I read so far. I think it shows people the truth behind the stereotypes that people have made about what we do and think. Thank you for sharing I hope you make more stories like this.

    Reply

  16. John

    January 30, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I feel like this really puts things in perspective. I don’t live in or around the South Side so I don’t really know what it’s like but I hear things about what happens there. However, now I don’t think the South Side is that bad of a place.

    Reply

  17. vanessa

    January 30, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    It’s a really great piece of writing to see the perspective of someone to show that the south side and these neighborhoods aren’t bad places, but they’re someones home.

    Reply

  18. Maddy M

    January 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    It’s amazing how far you’ve come from such an awful thing. Where I live nothing like that really happens, I live in a suburb of Chicago. Some people call it the bubble because we are so trapped and wrapped up in our own lives and we don’t really realize all the things that are constantly happening around us, and not that far from us. Stereotypes are so strong, and it takes a lot to be able to forget them and live the life YOU want to live.

    Reply

  19. Quinn M

    January 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    I really enjoyed your story, and it truly exemplifies the false stereotypes and what it is really like in the places that you live! This will make people think differently and treat others with more respect! Awesome!

    Reply

  20. Elyse

    January 30, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    You guys are the true people of the south side. You are the ones that make it the home, for everyone in your community. People from the outside only hear what makes the news and sadly that’s all the bad things that happen. You guys don’t have control over what other people do, all you can do is your best to make it a happy place. I’m very impressed with the way you view your situations your not complaining about how bad you have it, you really believe this is the way that you like it.

    Reply

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