Por Unknown sábado, 30 de mayo de 2015


A partir de un viaje hecho a Chicago con su clase de "violencia y No violencia", nuestra colaboradora nos presenta una reflexión sobre la violencia y discriminación social que sufren los niños en una comunidad en Chicago.

El contexto en el que se desarrolla esta experiencia es en la comunidad de Roseland, donde se ha detectado que los niños crecen en medio de  espacios pocos favorables de pobreza y los padres de estos tienen trabajo de medio tiempo remunerados desfavorablemente, situación que causa molestia en la comunidad.En este sentido, el hogar se convierte en un espacio importante para estas familias rodeadas por un ambiente social de violencia en el que las pandillas predominan, estas al mismo tiempo son reflejo de la necesidad de las personas de proteger y defender sus pertenencias.

Nuestra colaboradora, reflexiona también como la falta de interés y apoyo del gobierno para la comunidad, ha hecho que la sociedad se organice y surjan figuras líderes en la comunidad, como el caso de Diana, una mujer de clase media convencida que la educación es un factor de gran utilidad para la reducción de la violencia. Sin embargo en esta comunidad se tiene poco acceso a una educación de calidad, incluso se han cerrado tres escuelas  en la zona. La señora Diane cree que los estudiantes necesitan oportunidades y espacio para aprender que sean estructurados y seguros. Dirige un programa fuera de su casa para mantener a los adolescentes lejos de la influencia de las pandillas. Ella se ha convertido en un modelo a seguir en su comunidad para ayudar a poner fin a la violencia, convenciendo a los adolescentes que la vida tiene algo más que ofrecer, proporcionándoles un lugar seguro, así como el apoyo que estos necesitan.

They Got to Go Home 

Home is something I, myself, have struggled with. I didn’t grow up with terrible parents in fact, they are very loving and supportive. People close to me have had worse or similar stories. There were times when I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t want to be vulnerable to emotions. My father, who is a great man, always made me feel unworthy no matter how hard I began to work, and it took time for me to prove that I wasn’t just a couch potato, but the hardest time was when divorce faced my family. Thankfully my parents are still together, and the situation has transformed tremendously. I can say I grew up in a very supportive, caring community, but I was the one to shut it out.  Still to this day to protect myself, but the trip I currently made to Chicago with my Violence and Nonviolence class made me think about myself. When I see and hear the stories of children growing up in communities of violence, it concerns me because I can think about the reasons that made me want to avoid my house then, I think about how much harder these children have it. Not only are there lives engulfed in violence, but they face hard discrimination from society.  

The area most kids in Chicago I am referring to grow up in what is characterized by vacant lots, which don’t generate an income nor employment. Heavy industry used to provide economic stability however, popular sports provide seasonal employment, which is something but still isn’t enough. These men and women aren’t full time employers if they are working seasonal jobs. The lack of resources drive people to anger because they don’t have decent schools, or healthy markets to purchase produce from, or places to spend their time like movie theaters. Space and housing is an aspect that is very important to community members. Most of the violence is over space because gangs have developed a tribal style. Therefore, gangs are creating a larger number of smaller groups. Violence is very personal here because people want to protect what they have while trying to gain more. 

While situations are worsening in their area and hardly any help is given from the government or outside, they can see the help they desperately need be given to other privileged communities that don’t need it as much. The point made is very obvious with education, which is a vital part of the development for children. Diane, a lady the class met who runs a program basically out of her house to keep young teens out of the influence of gangs, told the group that three schools were shut down in the area in which she lives, Roseland, a place where another human beings life is taken by the street violence that has infested the community.  The opportunity students need to for structured and safe environment to learn in has decreased. Instead of being challenged with new ideas, kids will continue to follow the violence they learn from the generations before them. While there are students who strive to be better, their parents might be too “proud” with their own identity to care. Diane has become a leading role model in her community to help end the violence, convince young teens caught up in violence that life has something more to offer, provide a safe place, and ears that listen, but also challenge

I admired that Diane gave up so much of her time to listen to kids caught in tough a tough time. I feel like any oppressed group just wants to be heard. I feel these kids represent a part of global phenomenon. Everywhere there are going to be people that just want to be heard and understood, but in order to have power, I think Arendt’s definition of power needs to be applied in Roseland. As a collective group, they could have power, but due to the territorial boundaries that gangs have, I think that collectiveness is going to be hard to reach. However, there is hope with the children that have come to Diane. She expressed that she would have kids from a few various gangs in her small living space, but each individual wanted to reach a better end goal, so they gave up their differences. I believe that if the adults really want to see improvement in their community, they have to set aside the differences need to have a rightful conversation where each person is heard and understood. The struggle is that it takes time. Umar Ali stated when talking about the Muslim faith that since it viewed negativity, what they, as a Muslim community, try to do to counter balance is this to act in their peaceful ways. It surprised me that he said many Muslims are baffled that many justify their violent actions, in the Middle East, by the Muslim faith. It’s an action that really any person or group should pursue. A person’s view isn’t going to change overnight, but over time, they will notice a change to a better standard. 

On the last day, Useni Eugene Perkin discussed the code of silence within the communities. The code of silence is knowing when someone in the community has done something wrong, but no one will report it. Tying back to children, this can be hard for them to learn how trust and be truthful, so being a part of a gang makes it easy to feel protected and to have clear enemy. It can be very confusing and mind boggling to grow up in such scrambled community. He also stated that the civil right generation worked too hard for the violence that is happening today. What I question then is, if violence is a learned behavior and the civil rights was a peaceful movement, what happened in-between? I know there was and still is economic deprivation, social discrimination, and various other factors, but what allowed the system to become the way it is?

I am very grateful for the opportunity of this trip. It allowed me to think of who I am, and how I had strayed away from who I am and who I want to be. Diane’s talk made me really think about what I was doing in life and how I should face my challenges. I truly admired how she acted; she took a stance, and it wasn’t passive. I feel like sometime I am too passive for my own good. Kids have to go home eventually, and if home is in a battered, low income community, they are going to continue in the footsteps before them.  One thought still resides in my mind; would there still be street violence if all the underlying issues were improving, or would there be violence over else, or would that violence be brushed off?


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