We hear all these stories about events that happen in Connecticut, Colorado, overseas, and south of the border, but what about what happens in our backyards? Chicago is home and will always be for me, but being outside of the city really shows me how little the national media covers or even cares about what is happening in the greatest city in the world. The nation turns a blind eye, and I ask how we can do the same. I’m not saying I have a solution, but I feel that as a collective, we could at least make others aware of the problem. The violence that is plaguing our city affects us all in some shape or form, whether you realize it or not. It could be someone in your family, your friends, your neighbors, or even co-workers that might have been affected by the violence.
I’ve seen it in my old neighborhood, I’ve seen it in the neighborhoods some of my family lives in, and you might have seen it in yours. Should we just go ahead and brush it off because it’s Chicago and things like that happen? That would be the easiest thing to do, but I say let’s bring light to the situation. Do you want to be outside of your city and find out the perception from a majority of the population is that Chicago is a war zone? How do you feel about living in a city that is now being called Chiraq? Are you comfortable in seeing a city die? Look around you, or just look at the newspaper every morning. This is a real issue that we need to talk about and not ignore. Now I might not be home, but the least I can do is bring some attention to the issue at hand. I don’t expect everyone to care or go out there and lead a march, but what I hope what we can do is think about the issue and bring attention to the violence that is affecting the city, not as individuals, but together as the community of Chicago.
That being said, I am very fortunate to have a platform like Ruby Hornet to help share a long-term photo project by Carlos David Ortiz titled Too Young To Die that aims to shed light on the problem of youth violence. It’s a project that shows the effects that the violence is having on kids, their families, and what effect this is having on the city of Chicago. It aims to personalize the people that are affected and share their stories. It’s a project that puts a face on people we may not know but people that we should acknowledge. As Carlos states, ” These stories are not about hip-hop, rap music or teens wearing saggy pants. These stories are about poverty, despair, neglect, hope, love and resilience.” Check out the photos below of some of what Carlos has been documenting and learn a little more about his project in the video.
Photos by Carlos David Ortiz