NEIGHBORS OF CHICAGO

Mark 12:31 "The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Chicago, who are your neighbors?

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Dipak // Little India

"There is something that controls the whole world, that is for sure. I believe in Hinduism, and I believe that all the Gods are one God. There are so many Gods, but the main God is one God. I believe in Jainism too, I go to a very good temple. Talk in such a way that you will not be disturbed and be nice all the time, otherwise you will get the karma in your next life. My God is in my heart all the time, so I do not have to pray."

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Maribel // Pilsen

"I was raised Catholic, but I'm not an extreme Catholic. Spirituality is something that is in you, and should be for good. You can see very traditional families in Pilsen, they follow the traditions of spirituality. Pilsen has been for many many years a hispanic neighborhood, and latino or hispanic families tend to be very attached to religion, especially Catholics. Very traditional family values that have to do with religion and spirituality here."

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Nabat // Lincolnwood

"I've believed in Islam all my life. I attend the mosque, and I pray five times a day. The Qaran teaches me not to do anything that would cause harm to anyone. There's a lot of people around here that believe what I do."

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Mallory // Boystown

"I typically consider myself like an Atheist, so um the only God that I have I guess is internal. She scares me, but also provides me with hope and things like that. I guess God is the unknown. I'm a part of the Transgender Community, and a lot of people here are really into just like astrology and things like that, but I don't know."

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Juju // Englewood

"I wake up everyday, and come out here to make money so I can dress nice. Do the right thing, God go first in everything I do. I probably read the Bible one time, but not no more. I don't see anybody else paying attention to Him."

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Adrienne // Wicker Park

"I don’t think that God exists, I see spirituality as a form of energy. Energy transfers and kind of transcends into other things that it touches. The only other time that I’m really aware of other people believing in something is when the roads are blocked off and I see families going to church on Sundays."

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Christina // Chinatown

"We were technically raised Buddhist, but I didn't really know we were religious growing up. We would just visit the temple every Sunday. I don't believe like all the weird stuff that my mom does, but I do believe there's something up there. I like the idea of Buddhism, and the concepts and teachings behind it ."

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Cindy & Harry // River North

"We’re just visiting from New York, and both Roman Catholic. I guess once our kids got in their 20’s, we kind of stopped going to church. Although we own a children’s center and consider ourselves very morally good."

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Shevy // Albany Park

"We're Jewish, and it takes part in every aspect of our life. It's not just like we go to synagogue once a week, but it affects what we bring into our home and the way we dress that doesn't expose our bodies. I've always been religious, and we have a very close knit family. We're apart of a much bigger community. My husband is a Rabbi, but I personally don't go to any of the services, because I find it hard to take the kids out."


VAN DYKE TRIAL RIOT IN CHICAGO

On Friday, October 5, 2018, the final verdict was made for the case of Jason Van Dyke’s murder trial from October of 2014. He faces 19 counts for the death of Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke holds two counts of first-degree murder, and one count of official misconduct. Additionally, there are 16 counts of aggravated battery representing each shot fired at the young boy. It would seem to many of those uninvolved that justice was served that afternoon, but still, protesters lined Michigan Ave around 4 PM to fight for more. Initially, six counts of first degree murder were up against Van Dyke, but four were dropped, resulting in a lesser sentence. Many of the protestors efforts were motivated towards giving Van Dyke his max sentence, though they show up to fight not in just the name of Laquan McDonald, but for the many who have held the same fate as the spoken of 17 year old from Austin.

Video Footage

The riot itself comprised of all ethnicities, but primarily young people. There were signs advocating for greater punishment for Van Dyke, various organizations that were in the fight with all of those who felt oppressed. Around 4 PM, about 1500 hundred people lined Michigan Ave, and were lead by a strong front line of advocates with microphones and passion. Various chants echoed the tunnels of the city as a slow, but confident, stride carried the movement. These chants were focused on the faultiness of the government pertaining to police brutality, putting down specific political figures, and a clear demand for justice the way that they saw it. See the slideshow of images depicting this scene.

HEAR FROM THE PROTESTORS:

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“I’m sick of living in a society in which you have a section of the population who has to fear for their lives on a daily basis. Who’s marginalized by austerity, by school closures, by their lack of any social welfare. And at the same time has to fear for being murdered on the streets. Seeing those responsible not have any accountability? So I’m here to like, fight for a better world.”

-Anonymous

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“I mean, for black people in this country, Laquan represents us. We’ve been getting killed in this country, and we’ve been not entitled to justice. Some people are calling it a victory, to me it’s a given. He shot Laquan 16 times, if he wasn’t convicted, the city would’ve righteously been able to riot. However, I think we need to think about how this represents a system of complicity in terms of violence against black people. The only reason he’s being convicted is because he was going overboard right, he shot Laquan 16 times. What about the officer that just shot once? I think those cops will still get off. I don’t know if this is going to change much.”

-Anonymous

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We must seek understanding in love, listen without the intent of speaking, and abide by the commandment to love ALL neighbors as ourselves.


DIVISION OVERPOWERED

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For 3 days in September of 2016, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina experienced violent riots as a response to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. This shooting only intensified the racial tension in Charlotte that has yet to dissipate. Racial division is unfortunately not the only picture of division that is experienced in this city, and most any other. This project is an effort to combat that divisiveness by giving a voice to those who live in all parts of Charlotte to first acknowledge their experiences with division, but more importantly share opportunities they see for the community to better foster peace and unity.

“I’m Latino, but I’m from here actually. Charlotte is growing in diversity, but I still see segregation. It depends person to person whether I feel welcome for who I am or not, and it’s caused me to question if I can even fit in. I want to keep the culture I come from, because I believe we should celebrate all cultures! You can learn so much from people that are different from you. About food, culture, really anything.”

“I’m Latino, but I’m from here actually. Charlotte is growing in diversity, but I still see segregation. It depends person to person whether I feel welcome for who I am or not, and it’s caused me to question if I can even fit in. I want to keep the culture I come from, because I believe we should celebrate all cultures! You can learn so much from people that are different from you. About food, culture, really anything.”

“I grew up in Charlotte, so I know that division is here. I don’t quite feel as comfortable in other parts of town where I’m more of a minority. I just hope people could be viewed simply as humans. We all live here, we might as well all try our best to get along.”

“I grew up in Charlotte, so I know that division is here. I don’t quite feel as comfortable in other parts of town where I’m more of a minority. I just hope people could be viewed simply as humans. We all live here, we might as well all try our best to get along.”

“You have to sit down and talk to people. I come out here and sit and eat with the homeless community almost every day. It’s simple, all people are worth valuing.”

“You have to sit down and talk to people. I come out here and sit and eat with the homeless community almost every day. It’s simple, all people are worth valuing.”

“Some people that believe they are greater than another based on their ethnicity, but I think it would be awesome if we could learn to celebrate all cultures.”

“Some people that believe they are greater than another based on their ethnicity, but I think it would be awesome if we could learn to celebrate all cultures.”

“I see that people tend to analyze others based on their first impression, and we don’t always give people a second chance. I believe that God created us all, which means that we’re literally all cut from the same cloth. I may look different, I may act different, but if we’re looking at people at their core, they share the exact same essence that we have. Diamonds are beautiful because they are not flat, they’re faceted. If we see the world in a flat way only from our perspective, there’s nothing beautiful about it. It’s when we realize that things are multidimensional when the true beauty can be seen. Zabb’s is a thrift boutique that trains and employs local young adults with special needs, but we really see them as having special talents. We don’t really think that the needs are all that special, we all come with needs, but the talents that they have that we don’t. Jonathan (pictured above) has actually been with us since the beginning, and we opened almost 5 years ago. He’s grown tremendously, we’re totally like a family.”

“I see that people tend to analyze others based on their first impression, and we don’t always give people a second chance. I believe that God created us all, which means that we’re literally all cut from the same cloth. I may look different, I may act different, but if we’re looking at people at their core, they share the exact same essence that we have. Diamonds are beautiful because they are not flat, they’re faceted. If we see the world in a flat way only from our perspective, there’s nothing beautiful about it. It’s when we realize that things are multidimensional when the true beauty can be seen. Zabb’s is a thrift boutique that trains and employs local young adults with special needs, but we really see them as having special talents. We don’t really think that the needs are all that special, we all come with needs, but the talents that they have that we don’t. Jonathan (pictured above) has actually been with us since the beginning, and we opened almost 5 years ago. He’s grown tremendously, we’re totally like a family.”

“People should say hi when they walk by one another, we think it can do a lot more than we realize.”

“People should say hi when they walk by one another, we think it can do a lot more than we realize.”

“It’s the mindset’s people have that are divisive. Color of the skin, how much money people make, etc. We should all have equal opportunity because we’re all human.”

“It’s the mindset’s people have that are divisive. Color of the skin, how much money people make, etc. We should all have equal opportunity because we’re all human.”

“Here at Matthews Help Center, we try to meet people right where they are. We hope for our work to overcome some of the stigmas about people who are in need of help. We’re all in this world, and it’s better when we do this thing together. We hope to foster unity by fostering compassion within our volunteers for those regardless of how they appear. We desire for everyone who walks in these doors to feel valued regardless of the language they’re speaking, or their abilities. When someone walks in, we want to be able to say yes to them. It’s hard to ask for help, and we want to dignify them in that.”

“Here at Matthews Help Center, we try to meet people right where they are. We hope for our work to overcome some of the stigmas about people who are in need of help. We’re all in this world, and it’s better when we do this thing together. We hope to foster unity by fostering compassion within our volunteers for those regardless of how they appear. We desire for everyone who walks in these doors to feel valued regardless of the language they’re speaking, or their abilities. When someone walks in, we want to be able to say yes to them. It’s hard to ask for help, and we want to dignify them in that.”

“We see division regularly when we go out in public, depending on what part of town we’re in. We see people giving us funny looks, most of the time it’s older people. At my old job there’d be co-workers that would talk about customers who shouldn’t be in this country. I’ve had a lot of people make comments like that, because people assume I think like them if I look like them. I wish they just had a chance to walk a mile with us. Things were different when the older generations were kids, so sometimes you can understand why they feel the way that they do. They’re limited in perspective. Just because people thought a certain way for so long doesn’t mean that it’s right.”

“We see division regularly when we go out in public, depending on what part of town we’re in. We see people giving us funny looks, most of the time it’s older people. At my old job there’d be co-workers that would talk about customers who shouldn’t be in this country. I’ve had a lot of people make comments like that, because people assume I think like them if I look like them. I wish they just had a chance to walk a mile with us. Things were different when the older generations were kids, so sometimes you can understand why they feel the way that they do. They’re limited in perspective. Just because people thought a certain way for so long doesn’t mean that it’s right.”

“There’s division between us and the homeless, we look at them as a danger when many of them truly aren’t. They need help, and we have the opportunity to be that help.”

“There’s division between us and the homeless, we look at them as a danger when many of them truly aren’t. They need help, and we have the opportunity to be that help.”

Police Officers also had the opporunity to speak into ways they believe we can be greater peacemakers. Here’s what a few of them had to say:  “A major cause of the split in our unity is how we handle the poverty divide. There’s a big gap. People can’t have the perspective of the homeless community being deserving of being shunned out of the world. There’s a lot of good people out here.”  “You can’t always decide what you think of people based on what you hear about them. For example, a lot of people don’t like all cops based on what they see in the news, but I feel like with everyone you deal with, you should take time to get to know that person. Consider how this particular officer you’re interacting with is treating you, or how is this particular person on the street is reacting to you. Just because someone could’ve had a bad reputation, that shouldn’t speak over who they are at that moment in time.”

Police Officers also had the opporunity to speak into ways they believe we can be greater peacemakers. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“A major cause of the split in our unity is how we handle the poverty divide. There’s a big gap. People can’t have the perspective of the homeless community being deserving of being shunned out of the world. There’s a lot of good people out here.”

“You can’t always decide what you think of people based on what you hear about them. For example, a lot of people don’t like all cops based on what they see in the news, but I feel like with everyone you deal with, you should take time to get to know that person. Consider how this particular officer you’re interacting with is treating you, or how is this particular person on the street is reacting to you. Just because someone could’ve had a bad reputation, that shouldn’t speak over who they are at that moment in time.”