The question I have for people in our community is “what will it take to save our youth from making those mistakes that can deny them of a brighter future?” When I was 14 years old I had a chance to get my first taste of the neighborhood or “hood” as it is so often referred to. I made the choice to join a gang and as I became more involved in the gang, my thoughts were that if you was not a part of my gang then I caused a problem with you. I felt in my heart you shouldn’t be in my “hood” or on my set. I protected those blocks that we so called ours.  I never really thought to myself who does the “hood really belong to?” The truth is that it doesn’t belong to me or the people who are acting like me in the “hood”. 

The “hood” is a trap to our youth’s brains and as long as the elders in our communities continue to stay voiceless and not improve greatly in showing our youth the truth, young lives will continue to be lost every day, because our youth have become “hoodwinked” by the blocks. What needs to be explained to our youth is that even if they protect their “hood “ by inflicting violence on others, the “hood “ will never belong to them or the gangs that they have chosen to be a part of.  For example when we look at the CHA buildings or “the projects” that once existed on the low end of Chicago near 47th street, it gives a clear vision of the message I’m trying to send today of these places being primetime “hood” spots. So many of our youth and young adults went to jail ,joined gangs, and have committed violent acts on one another for their so called “hood” that was so much a part of them. But if you look at the “projects” now in 2011, you will find newly renovated condos, townhomes, and single family homes where the old “hood used to be”. So many people died to keep people out of their “hood” and died for no reason protecting something that was never theirs. Our youth should know that the “hood” is a trap to their brain and when you look at the truth, who really does own the “hood”?