A Peaceful Mind

at 11:35 PM

Neighbors call getting your place broken into "the welcoming committee." They say "Oh, they only going to break into your place two or three times." The first time, they took the groceries, the hair barrettes, toilet paper, the kids' clothes.  The closets were empty. The next day, they broke in again. The third day we were gone.

Then we moved to Hunter's Point and it was crazy. Every night across the street I see the cell phone lights. It was dudes just watching.

I took the bus to drop the kids off at school. I came back two hours later. My place was broken into. My groceries, my laptop, the kids' saving money -- gone.
 
I called everybody that wasn't scared to help me move. I loaded up their cars, and moved back to my mom's house. My kids started crying. I was heartbroken.
 
My grandmother and my mom were raised in Hunter's Point. At dark, the street lights would come on and it was still safe to play outside. We used to rollerblade and ride bikes, draw on the ground, and hopscotch.

Now it ain't even safe to play with our neighbors. I don't let my kids play outside. I used to walk to school. I don't even let them go to school here. My mom said, "I want you here, but you going to have to move out of this city, it's not safe out here no more."
 
Kids feel they have to argue, talk about boyfriends, the girls sound fast. A lot of people out here killing people at 14 or 15, just to make a name for themselves. My daughter, ever since her father got killed, she don't like walking past guys in black hoodies.
 
Sometimes I feel I've failed as a parent. Bad stuff keep happening to us. I try so much to be away from it, against it, to keep my kids from even seeing it -- but it just finds a way to follow us.
 
I need a safe peaceful environment for my kids, because if not, they're not gonna grow up with a peaceful mind.

With a Perspective, I'm Vunetta Shankle-Sadler.

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