One night when I was 18, I was walking to the Walgreens that was on my block. It was December and freezing in Chicago. Usually that means it’s a little safer, too.I was just going out for some chips and a drink, but before I even got to the store, shots rang out. Another drive-by. I hit the ground for a few seconds and then started running back home.

I wanted to keep running though. Away from the South Side, away from Chicago. I just wanted to get out.

Let me tell you about my city.

Growing up where I did on the South Side, it was easy to think that there wasn’t much beyond those city blocks. Because not many people were telling us any different. We were expected to live in the same house we had grown up in, which was the same house our parents had grown up in.

Around the Ickes projects, you see the same folks every day. You see the same cop cars chasing people up and down 79th Street. You get used to the crime and, from a young age, you learn how to live with it. You learn what to do during a drive-by: Y

ou duck. And you run. I’m not saying all this to be tough, it’s just how things are. There are certain rules you live by. Make sure you’re with your big sisters. Be home before the lights at the park come on. All that sort of stuff…..

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