In the spring of this year, a decision that I made last fall will come to fruit and will change my life profoundly for better or worse. I will be leaving Chicago, the city where I have resided my entire life to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Employment opportunities in Chicago are scarce and the daily urban violence is slowly killing my soul so with many regrets, I am leaving the city of my birth for hopefully greener pastures.
Am I scared? Yes, I am scared, scared as hell! I am a 42-year-old middle-aged Black woman who has never lived anywhere else and I would be leaving my friends and family, in particular, my eldest daughter. This decision was hard but I have to do what is best for me and my other children. The last five years have been hard on us and I am tired of just surviving; I want to live.
I would like to live in a neighborhood where I do not have to fear walking down the street without getting robbed. A couple of Sundays ago, a young fella was scheming on a sister, trying to steal my purse because I would not give him a dollar. Who the fuck I look like, his mother? I want my daughter to attend a good school where she does not have to deal with children who hit teachers (Her teacher was hit in jaw by an 11-year-old male child while she was trying to break up a fight).
I want my son to be able to find a job that will give him some skills and some work experience. He does not drink, do drugs and has never been to jail and one would think finding a job would be easy for him but not in Chicago. He is a wonderful young man and deserves the best and I am not just saying that because I am his mother. I really admire his moxie as a young, black male who has managed to keep himself out of trouble in a city where his peers are shot on a nightly basis.
And what about me, the former high school dropout and teenage mother? I want a career and not just a job making the same amount of money I was making before I went to college. I fought the welfare system to receive my diploma and I refuse to believe that after everything I went through to get my diploma, this is it for me: food stamps and a crappy ass, low income apartment.
I just want a taste of the American Dream and I hope for myself and my children, it is not a Dream Deferred. I will be leaving my city with all aspirations and hopes that my ancestors had when they left Mississippi for Chicago for a better life. I come from good stock and I know that I and my children will be just fine.