In ten days, thousands of bloggers, mostly smart and saavy women, will be heading into the beautiful city of Chicago for the annual BlogHer conference.
Another fun fact: Chicago is also the murder capitol of the nation.
In fact, at the same time as BlogHer, there will be another conference in town — an important emergency national summit on urban violence at Chicago State University, led by the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Sheraton, the BlogHer host hotel, has a special conference rate of $199 a night. Before I found roommates, I searched the Internet for less expensive alternatives. I discovered a good deal at a chain hotel a train-ride away. I DM-ed one of my friends in Chicago to ask about this hotel.
“You know anything about it?” I asked.
“Oh, you don’t want to go there. It’s in a very bad neighborhood.”
A very bad neighborhood. Chicago. I bet you are having the same images in your mind that I do — liquor stores, pawn shops, Fried Chicken places, unemployed men, gangs, and mostly black faces. And gun violence.
Poor. Black. Crime. Violence. Fear. The words easily come together in urban America.
“Better you stay at the Sheraton,” said my friend. “Why tempt fate?”
What does this have to do with the Trayvon Martin shooting or the George Zimmerman trial in Florida?
Nothing. But everything. I live in America. I am part of the problem.