Ebony, with her daughter Adira, from Parkland Dec. 18, 2018
Shes my youngest of four. Shes my baby. We have a really good connection, too. I dont know what else to say, but shes just the last one. Shes special, and shes different.
When you start having kids, you dont realize what your job really is, but its to prepare them to come out here and survive. Its bad out here, and Im hoping that Im able to give her life skills to go out here and do well. Thats with all four of my kids. I have one that Im getting ready to send off to college, so Im scared. I have one son, and Im scared for him. I try to do the right thing. Im hoping that I do enough for them to have the survival skills.
Being a parent is hard because youre doing the best you can. You send your kids to school, and the majority of their day is spent with kids who may not be getting what my kids get. Thats the bigger influence. I just hope that whatever I do sticks with them, and they are able to not be led astray by it. My oldest is in private school. People always ask me why I did that. I dont want her in class with a classmate whose dad was just shot. Were at Assumption, where some kids may be affected by a different type of crime, but you have to pick your poison. Although this is our community, I have to, sometimes, send them outside of the community to get a better education for survival. Im really scared for my kids.
I have a son that catches the bus, right here at Shortys. I take him to the bus stop every morning. I let him walk home, but I take him every morning. Am I coddling him? No, Im protecting him. I see him, and hes 12. I also see other kids, who are 12, and doing different shit. He knows that, but its hard. I want him to love where he comes from but at the same time, he has to find balance. They have to get outside of the neighborhood to see other things happening, and thats why I sent my daughter to Assumption. She hates it, but the survival skills shes learning there are things that we learn when we get older and in the workplace. She gets to see how they move, and how they play. The education that shes getting is top of the line and getting her ready for college. She hates it, but its OK. When she gets to college, itll be a cakewalk. I have to make decisions for them now that theyll benefit from later. They just dont understand it, right now.
Do the best you can. Live with no regrets and know that what they do to you is their karma, and how you respond is yours. Thats what I teach my kids. You may wanna get even, but how you respond is what matters. Thats how I live my life.
Mikey, from Chickasaw Dec. 10, 2018
My life has been rough. Shit, I got stabbed in my knee when I was 10. They stood over me when I was 10. I was just trying to be grown. I jumped off the porch and started fuckin with the older dudes. When I started fucking with them, I started doing older shit. Thats about it. I done been through a lot.
Im trying to find something. Plus, I rap. I want to do that and have a clothing company. Im trying to get some money, so I can buy the whole hood. I want us to own more of these houses. You got people coming down here and wanting to take over. They dont even want us out there.
I feel like we, as blacks, already gotta strike. People just want us to do something bad and, when you mess up once, that fucks up everything. That dont mean were bad people. Its just that when we do that one little thing, everyone else thinks were the devil. We dont get second chances. They on our ass. The moneys low down here, and people feel like they gotta trap. People got charges and shit and cant get a job. You gotta come out here and get it. Dont nobody wanna be broke.
Why cant everyone succeed? Its people, that only have straight histories that come up. Theres a lot of good people, that I know, that have bad histories. Theyre good people and with a past.
Man, stay in school. When youre in school, they love you. Stay in school and stay out the streets. Aint shit goin on out here, for real. Thats what I be trying to tell kids. I done been through all this shit. Aint nothin going on.
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 that make 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.