Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From Violence to Glory

This August an all-black team of 12 year olds from the South Side of Chicago won the United States Little League Championship. An article in the New York Times was written expressing the uplifting pride that the hero's hometown felt for their little ones. The story also discusses the fact that, surprisingly, national news about the South Side had nothing to do with gun violence. This article tells a story that resists the dominant ideology that kids from violent neighborhoods cannot overcome setbacks presented by their environment and inspire their community.

The goals achieved by the children on the Jackie Robinson West Little League team inspired many people especially those who live in their community. The hometown expressed its pride in many way. Inspired fans filled the stadium, “People showed up and plopped down lawn chairs, sitting there just so they could feel like a part of the event, even if they could not see anything”. Their neighborhood’s residents were happy even if they didn’t know the score because they had confidence that the kids were doing their best. After the victory, the team was welcomed home with a huge parade to celebrate their victory. The article explains that, “The rolling celebration started with a rally at the team’s home park and worked its way into the city center. Residents lined up for 70 blocks along Halsted Street, waiting for their heroes”. They did not only inspire their neighborhood but the entire city of Chicago.

Despite the fact that the children on the J.R.W. team come from a neighborhood known for its gun violence they brought (for a change) a positive light onto the area. The article expresses that non-violent news from the South Side is uncommon. A resident of the area, Aaron Wright, stated that, “Every time you turn on the television, you always hear about someone’s baby getting killed. Every time people think about Chicago now, they think about guns.” The victory even drew politics into the neighborhood. “Mayor Rahm Emanuel was there. The South Side has become a vulnerable spot for him politically, not only because of the violence but also because of his efforts to close schools for budget reasons. ‘Yes, the politicians are milking this,’ said Mr. Wright, the rally attendee. ‘We could talk about that all day. Don’t get me started.’” The politicians seemed to use this victory to gain votes in the upcoming election.

Despite the negativity that was created by the Chicago Little League’s inspiring win, most of the information in the article presents a positive attitude toward the celebration for the little heroes of the South Side. The article tells a story of an amazing victory that challenges the idea that no one from a violent neighborhood can be such an inspiration, especially at such a young age. It also successfully resists the ideology that setbacks due to our environment slow down or even demolish any chance of social progress towards a friendlier neighborhood.

The link to this article can be found here.

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