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Dreams and struggles, Growing up Black in America

Miguel Nogueras, Writer

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In a country that is so currently divided, we look to the past for examples of leadership, perseverance, and wisdom that can be applied today. February is Black History Month, and it’s time to celebrate the lives and ideas of African-Americans, who fought to see that the United States could truly be a country of equality. The stories of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks are told frequently and are well known within the United States. I decided to take a look at a more local example of Black excellence in America. Christian “Chris” Bradley is a 17 year old, African-American from Chicago’s West Side. He moved to various neighborhoods throughout the city while growing up, and his engaged with many interactions, hardships, and experiences from the perspective of a Black American. I sat down with him to talk about some of the aspects of his life, and how coming to Whitney Young has changed him.

 

Miguel: What were your self-expectations growing up?

Chris: “Being the person that everyone depends on to be successful, subconsciously put a burden on my shoulders. I feel like a placed an unattainable expectation on myself to be perfect. Therefore I always set big goals for myself, which is why I applied and committed to attending Whitney Young.”

 

Miguel: How do you think being Black in the US, affected your ability to be high-achieving in school?

Chris: “In grammar school, I never realized any difference in my potential because everyone in my class looked like me. Coming to Whitney Young, I slowly realized that the odds are stacked against me. High school was supposed to prepare me for the real world. However, in high school I experienced that black people are treated differently in the real world. Several incidents in school have confirmed that belief.”

 

Miguel: What event/experience significantly changed your outlook on the world?

Chris: “The Children’s March of 1963. Where thousands of kids skipped school to protest for civil rights. When I learned about this event, it inspired me to be more involved in social causes concerning the African-American community. I figured that even as a young person, I could make an impact on the world for better.”

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Dreams and struggles, Growing up Black in America