West Of Ninth: People, in their own words…(10/17)

Oct. 11, 2018
Corey, from Algonquin,
co-owner of C & E Food Mart
“I’ve been living here all my life. I’ve done a few years but other than that, I’ve been here all my life. West is the best end. I ain’t got no complaints.

What inspired me to be an entrepreneur was going to jail and having people telling me what to do and when to do it. I would never like that. I never liked someone telling me what to do. I had many other ventures and failures, and this is what it led me to. I sell dogs, too. I just didn’t want to work for anybody.

It’s important for young black people to be entrepreneurs. Well to me, because first of all, you’re working for you and yours. You ain’t making no other person rich, whether they’re white or black. Period. They’re making a million a week and you’re making $20 an hour? Fuck outta here — I’ll make my own business. Put my own on and I’m here at 8 every morning. This is where I’m at.

Do what you wanna do and work for yourself. Find something that you like to do, and find a way for you to make some money off of it. That’s all I’m trying to do. I’d even sell candy bars all day. I can’t have it any other way.”

Leeshia and Roderica

Oct. 9, 2018
Leeshia, from Parkland
“I’ve been in The West End for 25 years. My experience has been good and bad. As a teenager, everything was great. They don’t have anything down here for these 2,000 babies. I was able to go to different camps and centers. I’m from Victory, it’s on 22nd and Grand. I got a little Park Hill in me, too. That’s where my daddy’s from. I went off to college in Cincinnati and I’m back home.

Right now, I’m passionate about music, and I want to go back to school to be a computer technician. What’s holding me back is that I’m a felon. I caught a case when I lost my son’s father. I went crazy. You know, people just grieve differently. I was in and out of jail and then I caught a serious case. So, when that happened, I was put on papers, and I’m about to serve that out.

I paid all my debt off. It was money. It wasn’t street related, but money. That’s what happened. It’s not the downfall. I just have to work harder. You gotta go through things. I just want to be a great mother and be able to give my son the resources that he needs.

If you don’t love yourself, then who will? Always love yourself. That will keep you pushing. You’re not the only one. You can turn anything around. Anything is possible.”

Roderica, from Parkland
“I’m trying to live to prosper. I don’t want a job, but a career. To be honest, I want to own my own business. I want to go to school and open my own nail shop. I just graduated in May with my GED. The only thing that’s holding me back is the school that I want to go to cost $4,000. Once I get up on my feet, I’ll be thinking smarter, not harder. I’ll get there. I don’t want to work for anybody. With the way life is going, I have to but I don’t want to keep doing that. When I’m up on my feet, I’m going to stay up on my feet.

My dream and taking care of these kids keep me going. I’m just living and thanking God for waking me up to see another day. You wake up, and it’s a different day. So, what are you going to do that’s new that’ll make you better for the next day?

I can overthink things, and that’ll mess me up. So, I try to slowly plan out my goals and write it down. I have to visualize it. Write your goals down so you know it’s real. Even if, say that you have to get brakes for your car on Friday when you get paid, that’s a goal! So whatchu gon’ do?

The key to living your best life is to mind your business and take care of yourself. Don’t be selfish, but take care of yourself. I’m the type of person that would help everyone out, but I found that it didn’t get me anywhere. I gotta quit doing that because I’m forgetting about myself. I love myself too much to keep battling with that. To live your best life is to live your best life, not everybody else’s. Stay prayed up, too. You gotta keep God first. He’s in order of your steps and your life.

If there’s someone that’s older than you, with some wisdom, listen to them! You don’t know everything. I’m about to be 26 in 22 days, and I still don’t know what I think I know. Only a fool won’t listen. Open up your ears and listen.” •

West of Ninth began as a Louisville photography blog, westofninth.com, by two Russell residents, Walt and Shae Smith. With a love for their community, Walt and Shae see the value and potential of all nine neighborhoods in West Louisville. Armed with a Nikon DSLR, a recorder and the ability to never meet a stranger, their goal is to shed light on the attributes that make West of Ninth the greatest.