The aim of this paper is to discuss what it means to be a renegade living in Eastwood and having a dream based on the book Renegade dreams. Living in Eastwood and having a dream is totally different from what we normally experience elsewhere. The neighborhood has many factors that one can only understand if they become a part of the community. The racialization of the area residents makes getting out an uphill task as residents are racially identified by outsiders.
In Eastwood, there are many kinds of dreams. Still, in the long African- American tradition, dreams have been linked to people fighting for social reforms such as Martin Luther, Hughes, and Barrack Obama. The eastwoodians identify themselves with and look up to dreamers like Barrack Obama, who learned his first political lessons in an inner-city neighborhood like their own- Altgeld Gardens. They are inspired by Obama’s story, who graduated from Harvard University, where his immigrant father had started his studies but was unable to finish. After finishing law school, Obama worked as a community organizer for a nonprofit agency where his efforts concentrated on entrenched community leaders and local government apathy. Martin Luther is perhaps the most known early dreamer who dreamed that African Americans would be delivered from the conditions of slavery and discrimination one day. Such figures keep the young dreamers focused and inspired despite the odds against them as they plan for the future. The local residents rarely speak from an institutional authority position. They do not believe anyone cares about their dreams, except maybe newly graduated students—the young people in Eastwood dream of having a different and better world. Simple issues like a safe passage to school, a stable job, and affordable housing remain a dream as children are gunned down on the way, displacement is a big threat, and young adults look for gainful employment to no avail.
Being a dreamer in Eastwood Chicago, injuries can be a great obstacle to realizing one’s dreams. In this neighborhood, there are many kinds of injuries, not just the physical ones, such as Justin ending up in a wheelchair due to gang violence or people being partially immobilized due to involvement in gang activities. Injury is interpreted as a broad term and not just as an objective condition diagnosed or identified by a doctor. Injuries are viewed as the many impediments that follow the residents through their life, holding them down and affecting their future plans and prospects. These obstacles include lack of jobs, poor living conditions, targeted incarceration by authorities, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, socio-economic level, and high insecurity due to the prevalence of gangs. In Eastwood, having seemingly ordinary dreams such as being a homeowner, living in a safe and healthy environment, or becoming an anti-violence activist is more than an uphill battle and can even be considered an act of defiance on the status quo. The community redevelopment projects initiated by the local government and historical emotions such as nostalgia do not make the situation any better.