I’m in my feelings, like most Peorians, over the killing of a 4 year old. Sadly it reminds me of my time living in Chicago. Part of my schooling when I first arrived was: no eye contact, walk down the middle of the street if you have to walk here at night, and if they start shooting stay away from the windows. My family lived on the West Side which has a tough reputation; Sometimes undeserved. We moved to a ‘better’ neighborhood when I began having kids but moved back because my then husband was President of an empowerment zone committee. You have to LIVE in the area you claim to be committed to changing. (Did you catch that?)
I remember getting off the bus daily, with my toddlers, at a stop littered with broken glass and needles. Same dude calling out ‘I got them rocks, got them blows!’ to everyone. I remember police driving by my morning bus stop rolling down the window calling us ‘animals’ on the regular. Yeah we’re the same group at this stop every morning dressed for school and work but all you see are animals? Those were things that intimidated/scared me at first but I got used to it. The thing I feared and NEVER got used to was those stray or deliberate bullets. If one of my babies had been shot like this 4 year old I would have been destroyed. What can a person do to you that makes you mad enough to kill? So mad that it doesn’t matter if a baby is in the way? I’ve seen years of work to improve education, employment, neighborhoods; to get a fair piece of the pie…. But we can’t quell this culture of violence. With every line that gets crossed you go deeper into the cesspool. I’ve raised good people, stood in the gap for other people’s children, advocated for families on the verge of destruction, tried to get in where I fit in to be a part of something more than my own life. I have no idea how we can stop this. Do you? This was not God’s will but God knew this family would suffer this. So I pray for their comfort and that they can move forward in their lives.