The skit on Saturday Night Live this past weekend about East St Louis, IL has created interesting conversations this week. The mayor, Alvin Parks is upset, doesn’t like East St Louis being referred to as a “hell hole”. He admitted that East St Louis has an image problem, he didn’t lie about that one. This city has had that reputation for a long time. It’s easy to speak ill of the city and the plight of the people in East St Louis, but this is the story of the inner city. From my research and conversations with The Mr, East St Louis is it’s own enemy, bad politics, night life and crime. The mayor is fighting to allow the city to keep the sale of late night liquor, when they need to find jobs and ways to bring the city out of the “hell hole”. The city government needs an overhaul.
Looking at the responses from Facebook let me know that people who have never lived in the inner city, ghetto or whatever you chose to call it have no idea what it’s like to live that way and they actually believe people want to stay or live that way forever. They make the rudest remarks, without a solution and hit below the belt. I love living here in St Louis, and what I know about the history I learned from research, local news and The Mr. He was born and raised here, so he knows the city well. Last year, on one of many visits to his old neighborhood, we saw abandoned buildings, open land where businesses and homes have been torn down or new homes in an area where there is nothing around it, no grocery store, church, corner store or anything. They have the same problem in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Atlanta and any other major city in this country where disadvantage or poor people live. Everyone knows that the inner city isn’t the only place where poor people live, just always seems to be the target.
I grew up in the inner city, went to high school in the city, even went to a historically black university. I am very proud of where I come from because I came from a home where my parents loved me. Was it perfect? No, but it was love and a sense of family in that home. My parents took pride in their home, so did our neighbors. Let’s not give up on these neighborhoods, they are our past and the future of the people that currently live there. Jobs are needed, crime is high, and the state and federal government must do better. There are still lives in East St Louis, IL. Let’s not forget people that live in our inner cities working and struggling to provide for and take care of their families.
Don’t forget to make sure your voter registration information is correct, address, name change if you recently married, or register to vote please. This is where we make the difference, I’m a believer in that. Marvin Gaye didn’t know the affect of this song, or maybe he did. Have a good day everyone