Open Your Eyes

Open your eyes, Luke. Open your eyes.

^Not my picture, plz don’t sue me @OTH

What? Did you really think I wasn’t going to find a way to incorporate one of the greatest shows of all time into my ‘eco-preachy, green energy, throw away all of your plastic straws or never talk to me again plz’ blogs? As if. (Quick side note, I am not writing these to preach to people, I am doing it to just inform you of the world around us that you may not be aware of.) ((Hence the title!))

Seriously, open your eyes up people.. says that ignorance is… lol jk my High School English teacher told me never to start an essay ( blog now, cuz I graduated to big boy writing ūüėÄ ) like that. I digress.

Take a look at these photos. Gaze at the architecture, the beauty, the history. #wow.

What if I told you, these are all images from a part of Chicago labeled by some as “a lost cause”, “extremely dangerous”, “run down”. Some things are true, some things are utterly false, and others only fractionally. These are images from Chicago’s North Lawndale community. A community that resides just West of UIC and University Village.

— A quick note to everyone from Chicago readings this saying “OMG you’re not even showing the bad pics, or the bad media about what happens in those parts of Chicago”, “OMG it’s so unsafe for you to be there right now”.

One thing to you people, and I’m sorry.. but go fuck yourself. As I paraded along the streets of North Lawndale today I was greeted with more smiles, head nods, “Hey, how’s it goin today”, and “damn this humidity, huh” than I have gotten walking through a college campus of friends and colleagues.

***Contrary to popular belief, people of lower income in struggling neighborhoods are people too. Effin wild, amiright. ***

As for the people saying I am not bringing up how the media portrays these communities. Good. That isn’t a healthy narrative, nor is it a narrative I will support. Yes, there are gangs, and crime, and drugs through these neighborhoods, but what does stating this fact add? Absolutely nothing positive, I’ll tell you that much. How come everybody focuses on the what¬†without asking the question WHY. WHY is this area like this. WHY do people¬†choose¬†this way of life (ha lol, also this ‘choice’ is not a choice. It’s the last means of survival for most after their school funding is cut, or their school closes down and now they have to transfer to a school in a rival neighborhood where learning will physically and mentally be impossible, or their mom or dad is locked away or dead and they are left to fend for themselves with no education because of the cyclical system they are born into). Why are people not asking the whys and only hanging onto the whats. Judging off of the whats. Making general assumptions of entire populations because of the whats.

Also, why are we focusing on the 5 individuals committing a crime and not the 205 people that are trying to renovate a run down theatre and turn into a safe haven and a church. Plot twist, these people don’t have the means to do this, but the will and drive to make a change is there. They just need a helping hand.

Change your train of thought


Well that is what I am here to do. I want to ask the WHYs until no more WHYs can be asked. There is a funny thing about that question. ‘Why?’ At some point or another in our childhood lives we were told, in so many words, by an adult through gritted teeth, “okay. listen ya little shit if you ask me ‘why’ one more time I swear to God…” (not verbatim, but that’s what most adults were thinking, they were always much nicer). Society has taught us in a way to stop being inquisitive and stop asking why due to either annoyance or for fear of degrading our own self-perception. We need to get back to our roots of childhood inquisitiveness in order to get to the base of societal problems.

As a society, (I’m looking directly at you, Chicagoans) we need to realize that the people of North Lawndale, the North Burbs, the Southsiders, and even those people from the South Suburbs who say they are from the Southside even though they 100% are not are all our neighbors. We have to represent each other, communicate with each other, listen to each other. Yeah, we may not eat hot dogs and talk about how dominant the ’85 Bears were every single night as Skilling gives us the weather for tomorrow.. There is going to be judgement and disagreements, but that’s the beauty of this great city. This diverse city. This is Chicago. This is my home. And this is the narrative I will change.


As many of you know, I am partaking in an adventure that would make Bilbo Baggins jealous! I am adventuring all the way to the great UIC for a little program called SISE. Roughly 40 amazingly brilliant and like-minded individuals and I are out to change the narrative, to ask the WHY. We are tasked with preservation and renovation of certain areas of North Lawndale and overall rebranding of the neighborhood. This is no easy task, but I have said this in previous blogs… Never doubt a room full of passionate nerds.. We’re lethal (in the best way possible, ((like Angelina Jolie in Wanted)) ). Yup… that is 100% the perfect way to end this.

jæja, CJ


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