Ear Hustle

Former Chicago Journalist Tenisha Taylor Bell’s Open Letter Vow To Never Raise Her Son In Her Violent Plagued Hometown

EarHustle411 came across this article written by journalist Tenisha Taylor Bell and upon reading it, our emotions of how the writer felt were not necessarily equal but definitely understandable.  Reason being is that we understand no parent wants to raise a child in a violent environment or visit your hometown that’s been plagued by violence.  We’ve experienced some of our own loved ones not wanting to return back home because of the violence even though we may reside in safe environments.  As painful as that feels, we have no choice but to understand and accept it.

However, some don’t have the option of raising their families elsewhere.  We as well as the writer are angry and beyond disturbed about what is happening in Chicago, it’s imperative to reflect on how our city got to the state it’s in.  We cannot dispute the fact that home situations play a huge part for the reason our young people are the way they are, community enrichment programs for children are non-existent. In addition, the Chicago Police Department and political system has been broken for several years. We can only place that blame on those who feel their vote doesn’t count (totally different post) yet another tiresome discussion.

Fact of the matter is Chicago has serious problems and to rectify them is going to take a collective effort. Quite a few of us have had the unfortunate wickedness plaguing Chicago cross our lawn at some point or another and it tears a piece out of us every time.  But while it is every parent’s right to raise their child(ren) where they deem fit, let’s keep those parents in mind and in prayer who bear the burden of trying to raise good kids in the midst of a war zone.

EarHustle411 and the writing staff will continue to pray for change in Chicago and for the writer who has made it abundantly clear that her love for her Windy City will be from a distance.

Read the essay as reported by NBC News:

Tenisha Taylor Bell

Photo Credit: CNN

If anyone knows me, they will tell you, I am a die-hard Chicago fan.

Everything about Chicago is in my blood. I light up when I discuss the Bears, Bulls, Jennifer Hudson, R. Kelly, Oprah and the list goes on. I “rep” my city at every opportunity—from Garrett’s popcorn to Harold’s Chicken. Am I clear? I LOVE my city!

When I started my journalism career I interned at WLS-TV with the wise Harry Porterfield and WMAQ-TV with the wonderful Art Norman. Citizen Newspaper gave me my start as a typesetter. My first celebrity interview was with Common when he was still called “Common Sense”.

You see, Chicago raised me. My entire family lives here, but I do not and I will not. I am simply home for the holidays. As I sit in my parents’ comfortable south suburban home, my eyes are glued to the television coverage of the Laquan McDonald protests.


My Thanksgiving holiday has turned into heartache for the McDonald family, and for my entire city. To watch McDonald gunned down in the middle of the street like a modern-day lynching is extremely overwhelming. The fact that Chicago PD held onto this evidence for a year just stirs my soul in disappointment, even anger. And now, I am fixated on the protesters that line my city.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

I can replay any number of times I have been so excited to come home that I could hardly sleep the night before my travels. However, over the years I have watched my city turn into a war zone. Innocent people have been caught in the cross fire of vicious gang activity. Babies are being killed right in their own homes. The violence has hit home for me too many times.

My grade school friend Steven Lee was innocently killed in 2010 while walking to his car. My best high school buddy Ronald Hollister was killed in 1993. He was an honor college student home on summer break. And even my own father, Ezekiel Taylor was robbed and killed on 79th and Stony Island…mere blocks from where First Lady Michelle Obama grew up. I was only five years old at the time. Again, this solidifies the reason why I refuse to move back to the “Windy City.”

Ezekiel Taylor

Photo Credit: Tanisha Taylor Bell

My family and friends ask me all of the time, “When are you moving back to Chicago?” I have told them, I have no desire to subject myself or my son to the violence that has crippled this city. Every time my son goes out to play or we walk to the park while visiting, I live in fear. My heart aches for the parents of all the young children killed by either “black on black” crimes or by police:

15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton (2013) who marched in President Obama’s inauguration parade
11-year-old Shamiya Adams (2014) who was killed by a stray bullet that came through a window while she was at a sleepover
7-year-old Amari Brown (2015) killed by a drive-by shooter while playing in a park
14-year-old Tyjuan Poindexter (2015) who was killed while playing basketball in an alley
And just weeks ago, 20-year old Kaylyn Pryor Scott, a beautiful model who was killed while waiting on the bus stop after leaving her grandparents house.

Kaylyn Pryor

Photo Credit: WMAQ

The list goes on and on. There are hundreds of young victims, too many to name. With every innocent life cut short, a piece of me dies with them. I sit in solace, thinking, any one of them could be my precious son.

So until we can clean up the streets of Chicago, I’ll love this city from afar and just be home for the holidays.

Source: NBC News

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