Your environment, neighborhood and/or “village”, plays an integral part in your personality and has a powerful effect on your lifestyle, from childhood to adulthood.

Before technology took over households and replaced communication and relationships, there was the 1990s. I lived on the same block from 6th grade until college. My childhood friends/Scott Joplin Elementary classmates were my “social media”. Walking to Dawes Park was our daily routine after school and throughout the summer. These were real friendships. The curfew was the streetlights.

The urban community was never exempt from crime, but then, it was still safe for us. It was safe for our parents to let us be children in our neighborhood. Gangs were more into making money than violence towards rivals, and usually resorted to violence if a situation interfered with money being made. Now gangs are just cliques. Innocent bystanders are targets. Neighbors want nothing to do with helping solve crimes in fear of retaliation …or they just move away. There are no longer true “villages” that were intended to help raise a child. Needless to say, today’s children are being stripped of their real social media.

Sometimes I would pass the same area on 79th Street and see how some of the places have turned into new businesses. The same places I shared experiences with my friends have changed. Sort of how gentrification makes neighbors feel; my experiences are no longer there. Majority of my teenage years is boarded up or replaced with new development.

In 2015, the news of Tyshawn Lee being lured from the same park to be executed is heartbreaking. Tyshawn Lee was supposed to do what I am doing now, tell you how society has changed from when he was a child, not be taken away from the opportunity. Not only does this situation make me reminisce on the childhood I miss; the childhood I was granted, but also on the childhood today's children aren't allowed to have.
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