Meet Edson from South Bronx, NY, USA
I wish they knew how hard it was to “hang with the right crowd”, how hard it was to “stay on track” in school, how hard it was to get by without being shy, how hard it was to help Mami pay the bills on time. It’s hard, it really is.
It’s been a while and we haven’t really talked much, but I think it’s about time I reach out to talk about things as such. I grew up in the South Bronx, a place about which people assume a lot. I can promise you that when you come around, I won’t expect you to scream and shout. We never really had the best representation, nor the best opportunities to beat the temptations. I wish people knew because maybe they would understand my community better.
I wish they knew how hard it was to “hang with the right crowd," how hard it was to “stay on track” in school, how hard it was to get by without being shy, how hard it was to help Mami pay the bills on time. It’s hard, it really is.
Let’s move on though. What can I do to change my world? Our world? That’s something I constantly think about in bed. I try to imagine what will help us get ahead as a community. If I could do anything, I would open up a proper facility for people to simply hang out and explore. I don’t mean those gentrified buildings that take the place of the bodegas where I’ve been. I am referring to a place where people can begin to explore a field they’re interested in. No judgments; no shames: just a place where their journey will begin. A place that gives folks all the proper and modern tools, not that old stuff they are given in schools. This is a place that's creative. It’s a big goal, but my community needs a safe place for young people to explore outside of school.
As for me personally, I’m happy right now. I promise you I am. Truth be told I am glad I’m in a good school. I’ve met so many amazing people from around the world who have great aspirations. What would make me happier is bringing the people I care about with me. I wish they could experience this journey I am on now. At times I feel like I left them alone to sort out their problems all by themselves. I feel I have no control over their success, which is partly true because the system requires movement with finesse.
But gratitude takes the right attitude. And I try to remember that when I reflect on where I am and where I came from. Every day I’m alive I realize how much I've grown since those days of being that young boy wanting to get out of the hood. I know there are so many others out there just like me. However, I practice gratitude by reminding myself of the things I achieved. They were never alone but with others who inspired me to succeed.
So, I remind myself to enjoy the moment and own it. But always remember who I am and where I’ll go. The South Bronx will always be home.