“I grew up around Cecil. Everything was good, growing up in the West. As I got older, I seen the difference. I seen how society can really hold people of color behind. It’s kind of hard, going through the motions in life, when you got things setting you back, such as the police. It’s not even just the police, you have people that don’t live in the West, looking in and thinking that everything’s bad. They have no idea what’s going on. Me and you are having an intelligent conversation and nothing is going on. Nobody’s coming through shooting at us. Now, it’s days when shootings do happen. We have to deal with the police coming to harass us, rather than protect us. They don’t want to protect us, so we’re just out here, trying to survive.
I’m very self motivated but my family keeps me motivated. My mom is my biggest support system. She makes sure that I stay out of the streets and stay focused. She keeps me on my p’s and q’s every day.
The West needs more community centers because that’ll give the kids something to do. Growing up, we didn’t have any community centers. We had Parkland Boys & Girls Club but I would have to walk all the way to 32nd and that’s far from my house. There’s nothing in the neighborhood for kids to go to or do anything productive. They have to find something to because they’re bored, so they choose trouble.
We need closer health clinics because everybody doesn’t have the transportation and they may not be able to get to the clinic. Everybody doesn’t have the money for the clinic. We could also use some role models because kids are looking up to the wrong people. They’re thinking that the fast life is the life to live but it’s not.
Don’t get caught up in other people’s ways. Be your own person. Make sure you follow what you believe. You should be good, if your intentions are good.” - Will, Chickasaw