22 Chicago

Photo by Startaê Team on Unsplash

The day after the rally, Marty decided it was time for him to do some real work, and he handed him a long list of people to interview. Find out their self-interest, he said. That’s why people become involved in organizing-because they think they’ll get something out of it. Once he found an issue enough people cared about, he could take them into action. With enough actions, he could start to build power. Issue, action, power, self-interest. He liked these concepts. They bespoke a certain hardheadedness, a worldly lack of sentiments; politics, not religion. As he listened to their stories, he would find himself reminded of the stories that Gramps and Toot and his mother had told-stories of hardship and migration, the drive for something better. But there was an inescapable difference between what he was now hearing and what he remembered as if the images of his childhood had been run in reverse. In these new stories, For Sale signs cropped up like dandelions under a summer sun. Stones flew through windows and the strained voices of anxious parents could be heard calling children indoors from innocent games. Entire blocks turned over in less than six months; entire neighborhoods in less than five years. In these stories, wherever black and white met, the result was sure to be anger and grief. The area had never fully recovered from this racial upheaval. — P.156, September 15, 2021

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