Views From The Corner of Galena and Carroll

Guest columnist Jaime Sanchez reflects on the July 4th shooting that occurred steps away from the front door of his childhood home.

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I don’t think I’ll ever forget this year’s July 4th. The loud gunshots ringing out. The sirens wailing into the night. The bright lights of the ambulance fading into the distance as tears and screams rang out on the corner of Galena and Carroll. It was surreal to see a shooting happen on the corner where I grew up. 

I’ve lived on the corner of Galena and Carroll for my entire life. We were one of the few Mexican-American families in the neighborhood when we settled there in 1997. Nonetheless, my family and I had many great nights on that corner. My neighbors and I used to stay out until 11pm on summer nights playing tag when I was young and pick-up basketball when I was older. I’m a firm believer that the environment in which you grow up contributes heavily to your development. There is very little I would change about my experiences growing up on that corner; it’s shaped who I am as a person.

However, it is no secret that the area is no stranger to violence. The July 4th shooting was senseless and I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. The gentleman who was taken from this world so early in life had so much potential but, like many young African-Americans, lived in a world that was stacked against him. While I am not a member of the Black community, it pains me to see their struggle. African-American youth are dying at an incredible rate because America’s institutions have consistently failed them. 

There is a crisis of senseless violence and institutional racism in this country, and it exists right here in Freeport. I am writing this article the day after a second senseless Freeport shooting in the month of July has left families in grief. While we are moving forward on major issues in communities of color, it is no secret that the wheels of justice are moving far too slow. 

I implore everyone to continue the fight against community violence, in all shapes and sizes, both at the local and national level. The young man who was killed cannot be another statistic. I firmly believe that the community needs to come together to ensure that something like this never happens again. The future of Freeport depends on everyone doing their part to end senseless violence. We must continuously challenge each other to do better and speak out. 

It is sad that it often takes a person dying to motivate the government to act. I hope the city moves swiftly to address issues of racism and begins to build trust within Freeport’s communities of color. The Social Justice Committee was a good start, but we must do far more. I hope for the sake of the youth in this city that words translate to actions. 

Jaime Sanchez is a life-long resident of Freeport, a member of the Army Reserves, and an avid stamp collector, apparently. He is a proud Democrat and believes Harry Truman is the greatest president of all time.