I am a former resident of Cabrini-Green and I lived there from my birth in August 1969 until March 1983.
Throughout the years, when I heard about Girl X, Dantrell Davis, Curtis Cooper and the shop owner who was recently gunned down on Oak Street, my heart broke in two. I try not to romanticize Cabrini because when I lived there, I saw up close and personal the lives that were taken and affected by senseless violence. But I also saw programs that were geared toward helping residents. I saw my mother, who volunteered at St. Mathews Head Start, being referred by the head of the program to the principal of Richard E. Byrd Elementary School. She then went down to the Board of Education, where she worked for 37 years, enabling us to eventually move out of Cabrini.
Each time that I speak with people, I try to convey the message of hope. As a resident of Cabrini, I never felt hopeless. I always looked at Cabrini as a stepping stone, as I know thousands of others have.
Long after the last brick is pummeled into a million pieces, Cabrini will live on in my heart.
—Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee