Chicago: The Coldest Winter


moved to Chicago from the suburbs in December of 2005. I picked up my

stuff and moved to the big city to follow my dreams. I even remember

the small panic attack I had after I signed my lease to live in Hyde

Park; an upscale neighborhood on Chicago’s Southside. This was a big

deal for me. I’d changed jobs, left my suburban lifestyle and even my

family and friends to try my luck in the city. True enough I was only

40 minutes away from the life I once knew and I figured if I fell on my

face I could always go back home. Through it all I would give my all,

and win or lose at least I’d tried.

So here I am, almost three years later living in Chi-town. A SBF, no kids no husband. Everyday

I get up, I go to work, I come home and it’s just me. The time has

flown by so fast sometimes I wonder where it all went. How have I

survived? It’s been a struggle, but I’ve manage to make ends meet. To

having paid highest gas prices in the country to the highest sales tax

in the country, I’ve made it through.


I sat in my office on last Friday (October 24) doing routine tasks my

phone rang. It was one of my staff members. She told me that Jennifer

Hudson’s mother and brother had been killed and her nephew was missing.

I was devastated, heart broken. I’d had the privilege of meeting

Jennifer this past summer, she had a wonderful spirit and seemed like a

real cool gal, and I could only imagine what she was going through.


further details emerged in the case it made me think about all the

other murders that had occurred in the city since I decided to move

here. It seems like every year that passes by, the total number of

homicides gets larger and larger, and kids are getting killed daily and monthly in increasingly random situations.


drove on the expressway that evening and I saw the Amber Alerts where

the traffic times are usually posted. It made me sick to my stomach.

Where could Jennifer’s nephew be? Some crazy person had him and I

prayed that he would be found a little shaken up by but alive. All

weekend long the city was in shock, the country was in shock. And here

it is Wednesday and now that Darnell Donerson, Jason Hudson, and Julian King are gone it’s hard to digest. Jennifer

is back home in Chicago trying to be as strong as she can in the

city that helped shape and mold her into the star she’s come to be.


question now is: how safe is it in the “big city” I left my safety net

for? According to recent statistics Chicago is currently “Murder

Capital U.S.A”. The crime here is out of control, it’s up 13 percent.

Chicago is expected to exceed 500 murders by the end of the year, but

ironically that number falls short of approaching a record. In every

year between 1991 and 1994, there were more than 900 homicides in the

city, peaking in 1992 with 943 murders. The standing record for

homicides in Chicago dates back to 1974, when there were 970 murders.


2008, Chicago has had more murders than New York and Los Angeles, two

bigger cities that have larger populations. And I just want the

senseless violence to stop. I want to feel safe in the city that I

moved to in hopes of following my dreams. Yeah I’m from the suburbs, but

where I’m from it ain’t all roses. Crime is up there too, but it

doesn’t touch what city life is like.


am fortunate to live a few blocks down from where Senator Barack Obama

resides and the Chicago Police and Secret Service sit at the top and

bottom of his block 24 hours a day 7 days a week. But do I feel safe? I

guess... I just try not to think about being a victim of a violent

crime. I know living in the city is risky. But it was always a risk I

was willing to take. And after this weekend, reality has truly sunk in

and I no longer feel as safe as I once did. I’ve got to be way more

careful and watch my back. And pray that things calm down here in



is really an interesting time in U.S. history. And I can only imagine

what’s going to go down in Chicago and in this country between now and

November 4 and 5, the day of and the day after we know who are next

president is going to be. And when you think about it, isn’t it

crazy…our next potential president will be hailing from…“Chi-town,

Murder Capital U.S.A”.



just pray y’all. People lose their lives every single day all over the

world to senseless acts of violence. I pray for Jennifer, I pray for

Senator Obama, and I pray for Kanye who is approaching the anniversary

of the death of his mother Dr. Donda West in a couple of weeks. I pray

for everyone everywhere.


love my city and I just want to feel safe again. I want Chicago to

uphold its outstanding reputation for the positive attributes it’s

produced over the years and not the negative banner that’s been

bestowed upon us, “Murder Capital U.S.A”.

For all of you who took the time out to read this, I just want to say thank you.

Live in Chicago,

Nia B