There are times like this that I miss Chicago. I miss the people. I miss the smell of Giordano’s pizza. I miss driving pass Comiskey park (yes, I still call the White Sox baseball stadium Comiskey Park:) )
On Monday, October 15, we officially celebrated two years away from our home in Chicago. It's amazing to think about how much growth my family and I have experienced in these two years abroad. Our first stop was Mexico, where we spent 19 months, and now we live in Antigua and Barbuda.
We have had plenty of challenges and a surplus of successes in these two years abroad. We continue to encounter obstacles with our home back in suburban Lansing that remains in a short sale battle between the bank and potential buyer. Our businesses did not create consistent income while in Mexico. On a positive note in these two years, my children learned Spanish. My marriage improved. Everything has yet to come to fruition as we planned, but our decision to live outside the US has produced some incredible results.
As I watched the footage following the Laquan McDonald verdict, I was proud of my hometown. From the video of the shooting, it is clear former Chicago police officer Van Dyke exercised poor judgment. He shot McDonald sixteen times, and many of the shots hit this young brother’s body while he laid on the ground. With gratitude, the court examined the video as evidence, other mistruths that surfaced during the timeline of the trial, and found Van Dyke guilty.
Chicago made history in the McDonald and Van Dyke case. The court convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and sixteen accounts of aggravated assault. He could spend a minimum of six years in prison. During the past fifty years, he is the first Chicago police officer found guilty of murder for an on-duty shooting.
The conviction came during the weekend of the Bank of America’s Chicago marathon. This event that I have experienced twice as a runner brings an estimated 2 million spectators and 40,000 runners to the city. In addition to enjoying incredible food, running along the lake is one of the many activities I remember enjoying in Chicago.
Yes, I miss my city, family, friends, and the capoeira community. The Van Dyke case gives me hope that there is some progress in Chicago. I also remain aware that as long as, the United States continues to claim equality for all while supporting equality for some, the commitment to social justice must remain.
I am a proponent of positive thinking filtered through lenses of reality. The latest appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to Associate Judge, despite multiple allegations of sexual assault, is evidence that much progress remains necessary in Chicago and throughout the United States. Laquan McDonald’s history of mental illness, disturbing home environment, and failures in schools did not justify his premature death.
Whether in the United States or abroad we must continue to develop the inner fortitude necessary to contribute to social justice campaigns. Leadership does not give up in the face of opposition. It’s the struggle that builds muscle among individuals who wish to identify as leaders. Like the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, sometimes we need to weave in and of pre-determined paths to arrive at our destination.
How can you begin to live your fullest life? First, save me a slice of Giordano’s pizza and then check out my course! Thank you for reading.