Considered the voice of Chicago, B.O.L.D member Richard Taylor fights against the death spoken over his hometown.
After the 45 people shot in Chicago over Easter weekend – six of them kids – I’m sure you’ve all heard the term Chiraq. It’s become very popular jargon here in the windy city because of the “high” murder rate. Sadly, the residents have begun to claim the city I love as a warzone.
I, however, still believe in Chicago; not just for its great scenery or good eateries, but simply because the darkest areas of our cities hold some of the greatest value. To show my love for third largest city in the U.S, I’ve started a grassroots movement called “Taking back Chiraq.” I, along with cohort of bold activists, are standing up for Chicago and denouncing the death that has been so irresponsibly spoken over it. Please understand Chiraq is a fad, but Chicago is forever!
Here are my top 5 reasons to stop calling Chicago “Chiraq.”
1. Chicago is a big city
Approximately 3 million people live in Chicago and the city is divided into more than 100 neighborhoods. There are dozens of areas in the city – other than the North side and downtown – that aren’t plagued with gun violence. Even the neighborhoods that are considered the most dangerous are still really nice areas with a lot of life and promise. The parts of Chicago that have been written off are really hidden gems, which would explain why they’re ground zero for gentrification projects.
2. Killing over meaningless things
If you look at the majority of killings that have plagued Chicago, it’s typically caused by trivial things, such as: an argument on Twitter; belonging to different gang; and wearing an opposing color. Additionally, most of the victims have no affiliation to their killers. I knew a man who killed a gentleman’s mistress for a quick $400. Look at the war in Iraq, people on both sides are putting their lives on the lines for causes they believe in. Seriously, we sound quite silly glorifying a murder rate that’s made up of mostly innocent victims.
3. Glorifying death and destruction – making it seem okay – promotes more killing
There is never an occasion to glorify death and destruction. I had a conversation with a handful of young gang members recently who said to me: “its okay if we shoot people now because it’s popular and we’ll get clout; they’ll know we’re not to fuck with.” We have to realize that no matter how grown people are, they’ll look for anything to believe in larger than themselves just to say: “hey I did something!” So essentially, when we glorify the term Chiraq, it literally gives the green light for street soldiers to go to war.
4. Power of the tongue: saying it and claiming it makes you apart of the problem
People, like lions, don’t truly understand the magnitude of their power, specifically when it comes to speaking things into existence. We have to understand the power of our words, because they shape our reality. Every time we say Chiraq, glorify it in conversation, or sign it in a song, we are exacerbating the negative energy. The phrase “you are what you eat” is evident in our day to day lives – consuming bad foods makes us look and/or feel bad. Consuming certain music will affect our moods. No matter what you consume, it becomes a part of you and you will find yourself unknowingly acting out what you’ve taken in. Don’t be apart of the problem that you are trying to erase.
5. Chicago is actually producing more good than evil, but the media won’t show it.
The most important thing you need to know is that Chicago is producing young, black, successful men and women at higher numbers than they are criminals. For every one story the news runs on a shooting, death, or robbery, I can give you ten great movements and accomplishment that have taken place from ordinary individuals doing extraordinary things in their communities. One of my favorite books has a great passage that says: “as a man thinks, so is he.” I guarantee you that if we changed the lens that we currently view Chicago through, and started putting the same energy in highlighting the positive things taking place, you’ll see a dramatic change in the murder and killings. Behavior changes with belief, and as it stands today, the mainstream media won’t be the ones to give us something to believe in.
I live in a city, not a battlefield. Stop calling Chicago, Chiraq!
Thanks for reading!
B.O.L.D member Richard Taylor is a best-selling author, mentor and motivational speaker. Read more about Richard in The Black His-Story Book: A Collection of Narratives from Black Male Mentors, presented in part by GoodMenProject.com.
Source: TBO Inc®