Special friendship requirements for the Children in the hood and there mommas!

Originally Posted – July 20, 2011 @ 11:54 PM

People don’t realize how hard it can be to earn street cred in an urban environment…  I don’t know how I would of handled the situation had I not had such a rocky path growing up…  We have a couple different organizations that operate here in wilkinsburg that are geared towards helping the kids…  I think what these groups do for our community is incredible but I have noticed several major issues with some of these groups… Most of the children have spent there entire lives in wilkinsburg and have experienced more violence in a year than most of us see in our entire lives…  One of the groups im referring to patrols the streets and tries to engage the neighborhood children…  They also throw a few block parties for the hood… I really think what they do is great but I have noticed that instead of coming across like the fatherly figures they are trying to purvey themselves as people think of them as rich policemen who don’t have a clue in the world what it is like to be poor and live in the ghetto… My theory is that although people think the kids are un-intelligent, around here kids have to grow up at a very young age in Wilkinsburg…  When these groups leave our neighborhood they do so in expensive luxury cars and they go home to there families in quarter million dollar homes in some of the more Affluent parts of Pittsburgh…  This is a huge joke to the families they are targetting in the neighborhood…  It’s really easy to come into a blighted area for an hour or two and walk around talking to kids preaching peace and school…  Especially since when you are done you get to hop in your luxury car and head home to dinner in your peaceful suburban neighborhood…  Believe it or not the children notice this and although they are respectful to their faces as soon as they leave they become the target of the neighborhoods jokes…  You see the children in my neighborhood idolize gangster rappers and mafia criminals…  I want to be there friend not there fatherly figure…  As a friend I am able to aquire details about an incident or dive deep into their emotions and feelings…  I have been told “Chris I don’t really like white people, But you are cool…  Talk about the ultimate compliment…  These kids have rarely had a father figure in their lives and although most people think that that is the answer, I disagree…  Their mommas and grandmas have spent the childs entire life demonizing the father and men in general for not being their anymore…  As far as I am concerned with these types of families, what they need are older male friends who LIVE in there neighborhood and have a relationship with the mommas amd grandmas…  I could never of become so close to brandon had I not had his “Nannas” blessings…

At one time I was way worse than any of the children in my neighborhood…  I think what Makes my girlfriend and I successful is the fact that we LIVE in this neighborhood not just come here every once in a while in 15 minute intervals… We live in this neighborhood with the people who need help…  We never act as if we are better than anyone… If someone comes to us and says that they are hungry than you had better believe that I will unconditionally feed that person wether I like them or not… I also believe the fact that I spent over 10 years living a life of drug abuse and crime has helped us out immeasurably…  I can talk to the residents in a way that only a person with considerable street experience could…  I can and will walk up on any porch in my neighborhood and say hello…  I think me being an example of someone who hit absolute rock bottom and bounced back to be what I am starting to consider a pretty valuable member of society… Which is pretty amazing given the fact that at one time in my life my family had accepted the fact that they were probably going to find me dead some morning and I would never reach 30 years old…  Well guess who turned 30 this past February!

I am not rich or from a rich family… I live smack dab in the middle of the ghetto by choice with the people I am trying to help…  Most of my time is dedicated to community service, I live way below the poverty line and some weeks do not have a  penny to my name because my time was spent helping someone who desperately needed home repairs and did not have a dime to there name…  Last summer I did ridiculous amounts of work for poor people for nothing more than some homemade chocolate chip cookies or an authentic southern lunch…  I often make less in a week than the people I am helping free of charge get in social security payments…  I realized in the last couple of years that I would never be rich…  I had no idea that meant I would be broke…  But atleast I have the power to make people smile, and sometimes a thank you from someone who never says it is all that I need to get through my day…

I don’t judge anyone over what they have done in the past…  And I accept people for who they are…  An incident that happened recently has culminated in some real ugliness on our street…  A new neighbor on our street has apparently felt threatened by me and thought that I was telling the kids on the street not to talk to them or there little daughter so in retaliation they have begun telling all of the kids they meet that I am a mean person and that they should stay away from me…  I find this hilarious because all that has ended up happening is they are basically harassing me through the kids…  I would never tell a child not to like someone or to be mean to them…  But apparently they have no qualms of going to all of their friends in the area and telling them what an asshole I am…  Now I want to remind you that this is apparently in retalliation for something they think I did but in reality I have not done anything to her…  I would never do that to a neighbor but especially not to a little girl in elementary school…  Well whatever it will eventually come out that this neighbor was wrong and that I am not a bad person…  All that I have to do is sit back and wait…  I work to hard on the street and helping people to sweat the small stuff…

I do as much as I possibly can helping the residents of Whitney Avenue to let anyone stand in my way…  Why someone would even want to halt the amazing momentum we have going at this point is just beyond me…  It just goes to show you that no matter what you do some control freak will come along and try to shut you down for their own personal gain, even if it is at the expense of everyone on the street…

 

I think my next post will be about scouting, clearing and ultimately gardening vacant lots…  Think i’ll call it the total blight to bright package…

 

http://transitionpgh.org/profiles/blogs/guerilla-gardening

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