Alex and I have been talking about how people ask us if we are afraid of getting shot where we live on the 53206 Podcast and the truth is that before I moved into the inner city of Milwaukee, I was afraid of getting shot even driving through the area. But then I moved into my neighborhood and met such really wonderful people. I realized that most of the people that live here are more similar to me than not. We have nights like last night where we grill out and the kids are playing football in the backyard and being silly and I forget that I live in one of the worst neighborhoods in the state. Things are quiet for the most part and when they aren’t, it is usually a teachable lesson for me or for my kids or a reason to understand someone that’s unlike me a little better and show empathy.
There are a lot of fears I do have living here. But they have to do with people’s stories. One of my neighbors is a single mom with 3 kids. She works really hard but only makes $900/mo as a caregiver. What happens if she makes a mistake with her money and can’t pay rent or utilities? I am scared that she will “find” a way to make money that could get her hurt or she will find an option that will put her family in jeopardy. One of my neighbors is a mom with severe mental health issues. She can’t keep a steady job and has tried to kill herself. She has two kids and I worry about her family.
I get scared that things will never change for people. That my one neighbor will never make more than $900/mo or that the other one won’t get the mental health treatment she desperately needs. I get scared that people won’t find any hope. Living here has changed my fears from something I assumed might happen (being around flying bullets – which I never have been) to being afraid for my friends and neighbors who are stuck living in debilitating poverty.