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How One Chicago Neighborhood Is Coping With The Toll Of Gun Violence

The Kids Off the Block (KOB) Memorial Tribute in Roseland.
The Kids Off the Block (KOB) Memorial Tribute in Roseland.

More than 30,000 people have been shot in Chicago over the past decade. Of them, five out of six survived.

In a new series from The Trace, reporter Lakeidra Chavis investigates the impact of gun violence on survivors and communities, specifically in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago.

The story of Roseland — with its struggling commercial district, vacant lots, and few grocery stores — is emblematic of many Chicago neighborhoods, whose predominantly Black and Latinx communities face persistent violence. Shared causes include deep-seated inequities related to health and the environment. Compared to the city’s predominantly white areas, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that these communities face higher rates of asthma, cancer, and mental health diagnoses. A recent city health report found that life expectancy for Black Chicagoans was 9 years shorter than other residents’.

For residents in Roseland, the perception of gun violence largely depends on where someone lives, and the differences can be pronounced even on the same block. Some describe dodging drive-bys, while others hear gunshots so frequently that they can tell the difference between the sound of a .38-caliber revolver and an assault-style rifle. The Trace asked seven residents to describe their community in one word. They called it: Acceptable. A Village. Quiet. Horrific. Dangerous. Depressing. Resilient.

We talk with Chavis and two Roseland residents about the toll of gun violence in the neighborhood.

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5

Kathryn Fink