Born in the Chicago area, Elizabeth Escobar is a senior at DePaul University and majors in biology and physics. As a child, Elizabeth always dreamed of becoming a ballerina. She took ballet for many years, until she realized school was getting in the way. Eight years ago, Elizabeth decided to take on climbing after her older sister introduced it to her. Elizabeth enjoys a challenge and has now upgraded to bouldering at First Ascent, a style of climbing without any ropes or harnesses. In high school, Elizabeth’s physics high school teacher impacted her greatly by sticking by her when she was failing physics, encouraging her and eventually pushing her to ace her class. Elizabeth appreciates her family and education, and she appreciates the diversity and night life in Uptown. She wishes that Uptown would have more publicity, for most people think Uptown is dangerous. Looking back, Elizabeth wishes she took more opportunities given to her in college. Elizabeth’s last piece of advice was, “Don’t give up, try really hard, and don’t discourage yourself.”
Beverly Dickerson (In McDonald’s)
I like this picture because I saw something about the woman in it that I thought would make for a good picture. Even with how bright and colorful it is, her face seems sad. When I asked if I could take her picture and if she would sign the release form, it seemed that the words to say yes were hard to say. Not because she didn’t want me to take a picture, but as if she didn’t speak English or had some sort of speech impediment. I might have been mistaken, but it seemed as if she had marks of tears on her face. She was very kind, however, and was happy to take a picture. I really like how it came out.
Vidal Herrera is a car wash operator and technician at National Car Wash and Gas Station. He Lives and works in Uptown.
I was on the corner just outside of Target as I was approached by Jordan Hunter. He is a professional musician. He offered to sell us his rock album. He likes to play basketball and also likes sports in general. When he was younger he wanted to be a professional musician. He hopes that the violence in Uptown would end so that everywhere would be safer. He said that some of the most challenging times in his life were his three trials. He is very happy to have God in his life.
Nahal Duncalf is the optical manager of a spectacle store in Uptown. She lives in Lakeview, but she is originally from Iran. Nahal’s childhood dream was to work in interior design or for Dwell magazine. She appreciates her family and husband most in life. As far as what she appreciates most about Uptown, Nahal’s answer would be the diversity. She wishes that Uptown will keep the peace and continue to be safe. Nahal considers some parts of Uptown safe and others not, but she also believes that the safety depends on the time of day. She feels most impacted in life by the people who appreciate her for who she is. The most challenging moment in Nahal’s life was when she moved to America, as she was only 11 years old and spoke no English. One piece of advice she gave me was to “love life, love what you do, and appreciate what you have.”
Enoch Appiah-Kubi is a 10 year old boy who is part of the Circesteem program in Uptown. His favorite things to do at Circesteem are ride the unicycle, juggle, and tumble. He has two brothers, one of them is his twin. His favorite show is the Avengers, and his favorite foods are pizza and McDonalds. Enoch enjoys being active and participating in sports; his favorite place in his school is the gym and his favorite sports team is FC Barcelona. Besides English, Enoch speaks Twi and Fante, as both of his parents are originally from Ghana. He celebrates Ghana Fest with his family, during which they dance, listen to music, and exchange gifts such as toys.
Jay Pandya has been working at Broadway Pharmacy in Uptown for 30 years. His childhood dream was to come to America from India, where he and his parents are both originally from. Jay simply loves Uptown for the neighborhood it is, and hopes it continues improving (especially through the new stations they are building). He considers it a safe neighborhood as he has not had any problems in his 30 years. Jay is most impacted by his parents because they raised him with a good education. Jay’s life advice is to study because it the main thing [in life].
I found this young girl playing in the playground outside of Goudy School, followed closely by her mother, Maria Eugenia Encizo. She immediately gave permission to take the photos, but didn’t offer any other information. Her daughter’s quiet curiosity was something that I wanted to capture in these images.
Lillian Miller is a Chicagoan who lives on the West Side. She believes that Uptown is treated “better” than her neighborhood. She used to work on the corner of Diversey and Clark, but she has been working in security in Uptown for eight years. Lillian and her parents grew up in the city, and they used to live in Rockwell Gardens housing project. She loves that each part of Chicago is different, but thinks that we need a new mayor because “the government sucks.” She is a certified chef, a mother of six, and a grandmother of thirteen. When asked for advice, she told us “keep your legs closed and your heart open.” She also warned us about AIDS and the “other sexually transmitted diseases” and shared that “yes, I am that kind of mother.” Lastly, she stated that we must “set a goal, set a dream” and “if you fail, get back up.”
Born in Thailand, Win Ruang has always had interest in running his own restaurant as he looked up to his aunt in the restaurant business, and ended up going to culinary school. All his life he idolized his parents and his aunt whom became very successful. 18 years ago, his aunt opened Thai Pastry, and Win Ruang took over only a few years ago. Running the business has been a challenge for him, but it has also brought lots of happiness in his life. Win is appreciative that his restaurant is in such a nice neighborhood with other good foods to try and enjoy. The last piece of advice given to me by Win Ruang was to “be happy and have a good life,”.