The Good in The Hood

There's a lot of hurt in the hood. It doesn't take much to see that. Several times a day I can hear people yelling at each other.

But there's also a lot of good. Yesterday while I was working in the yard I got a chance to talk with James who lives down the street from us. He often can be seen outside in the mornings walking up and down the block picking up litter from the curb and sidewalks. James moved to North Minneapolis after living most of his life in the projects in Chicago. The way he talks, you'd think North Minneapolis was a paradise compared to the projects. And maybe it is. He shared how his kids couldn't really play at the playground because of the gunfire. They knew to drop to the ground if they heard shots.

James moved here a while back when some family members invited him up. Right away he found job opportunities. And though he could get his own place, his aunt appreciates the help he provides as well as peace of mind knowing he's around.

And he's here to make the neighborhood better--as shown by his selfless act of cleaning up the never-ending litter (though James admits some could likely be from his grandkids...). One of the axioms I was taught as a kids was to always leave a place better than when you found it. James is doing that; hopefully, we are too. That's what community does. Not just with the litter, but with each other.

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