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Tips Thoughts and Easy Talk

Dilapidation of the West Side

Tiffany Sanders - Monday, July 06, 2015
Last week I had a meeting in Oak Park so I cut through the West Side of Chicago to get there because the Eisenhower Express was a nightmare of gridlock. As I drove through the heart of the West Side, I cringed at its visible neglect, dilapidation and third world imagery. There were so many abandoned houses, unkempt grass, and potholed ridden roads, and zero evidence of viable business outside of the candy lady setting up shop in front of her home. Even worst, attached to those boarded up homes were signs that said Vote for Willie Wilson or Vote for Rahm Emmanuel, but in all honesty, what did that vote get us, the black community.

In comparison, I was in Hyde Park last week, home of the President of the United States, and I dined in a trendy restaurant and enjoyed the sights and sound of people socializing on a warm Spring evening. I even saw approximately 10 cops patrolling the streets on bikes alone! You wouldn’t of thought just miles away on the other side of town this sight was unseen. Yet on the West Side, there was no visible police presence, trendy restaurants, bars or boutiques to patronize, and the parks looked like a wasteland. 

I’m repeatedly disappointed at the repeated denial of economic and social vitalization needed on and in the West and South Sides of Chicago. Yes, the runoff election occurred in April, but Rahm Emmanuel has been in office for 4 years and our predominantly black neighborhoods are without police presence, great schools comparable to those on the North side, and staples in the community such as a University of Chicago or Presidential Library. Why? Don’t we deserve more!

Are we going to just settle for politics as usual, while revitalization and commercialization occur in other communities? Or are we going to request that all parts of the city are revitalized, and not just those prone to tourists. No community should wake up everyday only to live in squalor, with beat up roads, and a missing business community. No community should be left behind.

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