Monday, January 4, 2010
Desperate for a Voice
I warned you not all posts will fall under a philosophical category. I want to talk about Chicago too. Career musings. Relationship happenings. General observations.
Do I have your permission?
I think my friend Nikki does it best in terms of documenting over at her blog, but the city is grand. Even though my iPhone and bus pass have been stolen out from under my savvy self in the past three months, I ignore the inconvenience. Rather, I've become a bit obsessed with the "under belly." Truth is, ignorance is rampant among many Chicagoans. A large percentage of the population identifies "The Bean," Willis Tower and Magnificent Mile as hallmarks of the city.
But one of the beautiful consequences of working in social services is you can't be ignorant to so much of what the city really is.
I had three young men promise to hunt down whomever took my phone, the same young men who make me cry because they want to succeed so badly and have every reason not to bother. It makes me less angry that my things being stolen cost nearly $400 because the under belly is so under served.
I mentioned the circumstance to Jada, one of my favorites, a young woman who went through "the system", mother of one and daughter to a heroin addict, that "these are tough times, people are desperate." In fact, she is desperate. For child care so her son isn't surrounded by drugs all day and for a full-time job so she can save for a house. For time to go to school so she can fulfill her dream of being a rehab counselor. For warmth because she is the prey of a slumlord who turns on the heat when she feels like it.
But she said to me, "No one should be desperate enough to take from someone who is trying to help us. That's why people hate us."
Many Chicagoans are desperate. For dollars, for clothes, for food. The New York Times profiled the growing reliance on food stamps as the sole source of support for many families in this country. Of course, on the theme of ignorance, the Republican's comments are maddening. On the other hand, I thank Jason DeParle for giving what I think under served Chicagoans are most desperate for. . . a voice.