All Stories



July 07, 2010 by Jeisson

“If I had kids, I wouldn’t have them live here”

At the SRO building in Humboldt Park, Margarita, a tenant and sometimes clerk in the lobby, lives a life of tranquility. While working at the lobby, she sees many of her neighbors interact and converse freely and at times she joins in as well. She is at peace. However, she would never go to the bar in front of the SRO Building. A man was killed there.

In fact, Margarita does her best to stay far away from Humboldt Park when she goes out. She has neglected from attending both the Puerto Rican Festival and the Taste of Chicago in ten years, and with good reason! In just the two weeks around the Puerto Rican Festivals, more than seven people have been shot at throughhout the Humboldt Park area, with several cases ending fatally. The Red Eye newspaper cover for the day reads “Chicago Homicide Report: Humboldt Park takes biggest hit as city records 217 slayings in first half of year”, further exemplifying the gravity of the situation.

As she reflects on her living conditions, she jokes about moving to a different neighborhood, somewhere close to the lake. She attributes all of the crime and danger to the gangs that lurk in the streets. She wonders why there isn’t any justice being served and ponders, “It’s as if the cops fear them, too.” Her words leave her in silence as she finishes, “if I had kids, I wouldn’t have them live here.”