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It's no secret that Chicago is plagued with violence, corruption, and other various predetermined lifestyles assumed to be synonymous to the black community. Murders, rivalries between the south and west sides, and gang affiliation all run rampant in its streets—and in national news—making outsiders wonder if we have to dodge crime at our doorstep everyday. And though these areas are disenfranchised and often disregarded for overall political improvement, these territories remain rich in culture and actively seek the betterment for their quality of life.

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Growing up, my mother was no nonsense, and all about raising my sister and I to be exceptional women.

I was always expected to be above standard, even with whatever chaos that surrounded me at any given time. It was no secret that she loved us more than anything in this world and as I got older, my mother suddenly shifted to a friend; someone I could call at any given time and she was always there to be an ear. The loyalty was unmatched. She was my best friend.

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