What is your story?
I was born in Jackson, Tennessee but I grew up in Chicago. I have nine siblings, and I am a mother of three. I have two boys and one girl, but my daughter passed away in 2006. I’m also a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Now I am raising my daughter’s son.
I am a volunteer worker at Dulles School of Excellence. I have been volunteering there for 6 years. I am also the Vice President of PACT and a member of the St. Titus Church. I like what I’m doing with my life. I like working with children and I like working with seniors.
Where do you think the problems in Englewood and Woodlawn stem from?
The problems I see are drugs, gang banging, not enough activity for the young people to keep them out of trouble, not enough commitment from the organizations in Woodlawn, and not enough affordable housing for low-income people. Because the rent is so high, the young people have to do whatever they have to do to support their families – even if its wrong. But they need to pay their rent.
They have to sell drugs to make money to pay their rent because there’s not enough affordable housing. A lot of the money the city is putting out, they’re putting it in things that aren’t really necessary. They aren’t making programs for the young people to stay out of trouble, and there are not enough jobs for the teenagers. I believe that if we can get some centers in Woodlawn and some jobs in Woodlawn and some affordable housing, I think Woodlawn would be a better community, I really do.
How do you deal with violence in Chicago?
A lot of times I cry when I hear about a young teenage boy or girl that gets killed. I pray. I do a lot of praying. And if I ever myself come across some money, I would put some of it back into Woodlawn. I would open up a center, something that would help these young people. It’s the young people that are keeping up all this violence. Because they don’t have anything to do but to get in trouble. I really hate it, I really hate it. I’m raising a grandson and if I could, I wouldn’t raise him in the city of Chicago. I would take him anywhere, somewhere. I would try hard not to make him come up in this fast life. Things weren’t like this when my boys grew up.
How did you become a member of MAP?
A woman that works with the AUSL schools picked out four parents from Dulles School of Excellence. I was one of those parents! She introduced us to Dede and then we had the first meeting and I’ve been there since.
What does being a member of the MAP group mean to you?
It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, really. It’s been a really great experience. Knowing that women can work together, regardless of their race, and work together and enjoy each other. It’s been a blessing to me and I wouldn’t give this up for anything in the world. We’ve been paired off and my partner mom is JoLynn, I just love her. I just love JoLynn.
What is your goal for MAP?
I want us to be able to get more women, of different races and different backgrounds, whatever, as long as they are moms. We will be in one group to try to save our community and save our kids. Whatever the case. Whatever it takes for us to do this, that’s my goal.
What does being a mother mean to you?
I like being a mom. I like supporting my children. I like being there for them, helping them solve problems, helping them with their education, and watching them grow up to become good, productive citizens. The work that I do, I can see it in them. I see my progress in them.
What do the MAP mothers provide for each other?
Love. We learn how to discuss things if we have problems. We are able to go to a mother in our group and sit down and talk and get some solutions. We don’t have to carry the burden all to ourselves. We learn how to socialize with each other and respect each other and have fun with each other. That’s what I like about it. They have this saying that women can’t get along with women, but that’s not true. That’s not true at all. As long as you know how to respect each other and talk to each other, care for each other, it’s possible. I know that for a fact.
This is a group that needs to be shared with women all over the world. It needs to be shared all over the world, because if mothers can get together, we can be dynamite. We can get anything done that we want to get done.