Yaviel Ivey: I’m not really used to what goes on around here. I’m used to living in civilized areas. But I’ve gotten used to living over here.
Maggie: Here, is the Chicago neighborhood of Englewood where 15-year-old Yaviel Ivey has lived since he was eight.
Yaviel: I know I have no future here.
Maggie: In Englewood, violence involving young people has become a part of life. Nearly a dozen young students are shot and killed there before they graduate high school. And it is a problem all over Chicago.
The police department has reported 419 homicides and 1,700 shooting incidents in the city so far this year, about 25 percent higher than last year.
Yaviel: In the area I live in, I don’t really expect to have a future here. And it’s just that I want to do better for myself.
Maggie: So Yaviel did some shooting of his own. CBS News gave him a video camera for 30 days to record just what his life is really like.
Yaviel: Just yesterday, there were police surrounding the school that’s at the end of…
Maggie: At night, Yaviel recorded video diaries, and he talked about the first time he heard gunfire.
Yaviel: And I actually saw this dude getting chased down my street by another dude who was firing a gun at him, and my mom was like, ‘What are you doing? Get down!’
Maggie: Another diary entry describes the day Yaviel was confronted by a gang member.
Yaviel: He asked me, like, what I was – like, he was trying to see if I was in a gang. I told him that I wasn’t in one – I was neutral.
Maggie: Around 80 percent of Chicago’s shootings are gang-related. There are more than six hundred and twenty gangs in Chicago with about a hundred thousand members.
Yaviel: I’m actually walking up to my school building.
Maggie: Yaviel attends Urban Prep Academy, the only all-black male school in Chicago. He is an A student.
Yaviel: I want to own my own business one day. Yeah, like Bill gates.
Maggie: Yaviel says Chicago’s violence outside means he often stays indoors, but he finds an escape at church and in writing music.
Yaviel: I know your pain but please hang in there.
Just because you’re given a bad hand in life doesn’t mean that you have to give up.
Maggie: For Yaviel, where he lives does not define who he is.
Yaviel: You can’t be afraid of anything, because if you’re afraid, that hinders your progress in life.
Maggie: Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
- Why did Yaviel decide to do a video diary of life in a violent neighborhood?
- Do you think Yaviel will be able to find a way out of the violent world he lives in?