Well-known for its violence and severe poverty, Englewood is located on the south side of Chicago. More people were killed in South Chicago than Americans in war last year. Littered with liquor stores and vacant churches, you can literally feel a sense of loss and abandonment when you walk the streets. Beautiful historical buildings are hidden behind graffiti. Children are locked indoors, forced to only imagine playing outside. Blood-stained clothes cover the streets. It's hard to understand how someone can live in this environment day to day.
While exploring the neighborhood, I was most surprised by the community's willingness to talk about family. Despite their rough posture, they never hesitated to express their need for each other; keeping friends close and family closer. I expected a group of people disengaged from one other, but what I discovered was a community fighting to stick together as they struggle to survive.
This American Life released a two-part podcast covering Englewood's Harper High School, the result of sending three reporters into the school for 5 months. The goal was to try to uncover why the area has so much gang violence and killings. The reasons are not what I thought, probably not what you think, and if you care to learn more, take a listen.