Starting to Change

“As I got older…my freedom to be outside was definitely different.”

Edited by Olivia Brown

Transcript for Started to Change

I live in Northwest Indiana for about eight months now. I just moved there last year. I lived in Dolton before. Dolton is, it’s more of a small city, a population about no more than 5,000 people. Kinda quiet area, about 20 minutes from Chicago.

I had fun going to school in Dolton. I was around people that’s like me. Growing up, I didn’t really go to all-white schools or see a lot of white people in school, so, I grew around people like myself. That’s all I know, really.

My parents really talk about how they can see, like, Chicago coming to the suburbs. They decided to move out because it was starting to get kind of bad out there, as far as like – the people from the City of Chicago were starting to move to the suburbs just to get out, like, because the city was getting so bad and like the shooting and stuff. So they tried to move to the suburbs, which, like, the people where I’m from wasn’t really used to the people out there. So, it was kinda starting to change.

I feel like the crime rate actually changed as far as like, when I was younger, I was able to go to the park and stuff. And then like, as I got older, it changed to where like, you had to be in for a certain time, because they’re out here like snatching kids, or like, people were shooting at nighttime. So you had to make sure you’re in before like the street lights or something like that. As I got older, it just felt like, like, not my freedom, but kind of like, my freedom to be outside was definitely different. It was definitely a difference.

A lot of people are moving out. So there are spaces for like people to rent homes or buy homes. I’ve never had a neighbor to the house next to me that could stay in that house more than two years. That’s been happening since I was younger.

I actually have some family in Gary, so, I actually have a lot of family in Indiana, too, which made my parents want to move. They knew people who lived there so they could like kinda relate.

Merrillville is definitely much nicer than Dolton. I like Merrillville as far as they have all the stores and like the nice food places. It’s pretty nice compared to Dolton where it’s like you have a McDonald’s on the corner or a chicken place across the street. So, it’s completely different. It’s a nice change, though.

I feel like the people in Dolton really didn’t care about Dolton, as much as like the people in Merrillville – you can tell that they keep up with like the stores and stuff. Like when the George Floyd stuff happened, and like Dolton got looted really badly, like stores got broken into. And, like, they didn’t even want to, like, try to remodel the stores back and bring them back. They were just like: “Well, it’s Dolton.” Like, who cares?

Dolton isn’t really like a Merrillville where it’s like, the nice houses, the big houses, the nice stores; it’s more like the small houses where all the African Americans just live trying to get out of the city.

I definitely miss going to school in Dolton. The people I grew up with around there, I will always, you know like, be able to keep in touch with them. Like, we still hang out to this day.

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