• J. Jamal

Unity Heights vol. 3

Updated: Oct 13

You must be new around here. Welcome to Unity Heights. We’re a small subdivision of downtown Los Angeles, and uhh...a side of town that you don’t hear from or about much. Well, the name came from this intersection right here. We’re standing at the point where Union Street meets Unity Hills. Yea, the make up and ideologies of these 2 respective areas are as different as the Apple Store and the liquor store on these opposing corners. You should check it out some time. Not the best store I’ve ever been in, but their selections are pretty good considering the location. Of course the Apple Store, why would I be in the liquor store? Well, anyway, these two neighborhoods are more alike than anybody wants to admit. Matter of fact, I’d argue that they directly influence each other in some ways, and mirror each other in others. It’s really easy to get lost in the hype on either side. I like to think some day, I’ll be able to be one of the bridges between our communities and I’ll be able to bring about some real unity around here. It is in our name, after all. So it’s only right that it’d be in our nature as well.

My name is Demetrius, but everybody calls me Preach, you might as well too. Junior, Union Street High, and a Morehouse Man. Well, I haven’t gotten in yet, but my whole family’s gone there. My dad, his dad, his dad, they’ll all watch me walk that campus soon. Our family is sort of the beacon light of Unity Heights, that small group that didn’t allow our perceived disadvantages to stop us from making a name for ourselves. You should come by U Street Baptist on the 2nd Sunday. I’ll be preaching my first sermon for our Youth Day. No need to worry, the gangs have enough sense to stay away from our church, so it’ll be safe to come out. We’ve buried enough of their friends, they owe us that much. If you’re coming, you’ll be able to meet my brothers, Prince and Niko. Well, hopefully Niko. He may have other obligations, seems like he always does. I’ll be so glad when we graduate and get outta here, I can’t let The U ate my brother alive. I just hope my uncle can talk some sense into him one of these days.

Speaking of uncles, What up Uncle Mack? Quit driving so fast, man, for real. Yea, pop’s inside, he told me to watch out for you.

Sorry about that, that’s my uncle Marcus. Have you been to the Community Center yet? You should check it out sometime. Uncle Mack paid for and designed it, it’s really cool.

Even Unity Hills loves our Community Center, they’re working on building one just like it. I don’t really see the point in that. There’s literally one stop light separating us, why not share it? If we all come together, there’s no telling what we can accomplish. We might finally get some changes made around here that way, instead of having a “my block, my way” attitude. I hate it. How beautiful would The U be with a lake, or even just a swimming pool for the summer? Why can’t we replace fast food and liquor stores with Whole Foods and work spaces? They sit up on that hill and laugh at us while we just...wallow down here, eating and drinking ourselves to death, if the gangs don’t get to us first. Isn’t the point of a community uplifting your brothers? Isn’t that the purpose? If we can’t rally together and around each other, we don’t deserve to call ourselves brothers. I think...sorry about that, I guess now you see why they call me Preach. But seriously, something’s gotta give.

There’s Nik over there. Yea...the one with the...gun.

You should get going. Just in case that’s not the only gunshot we hear tonight.

Let’s meet at The Hills next time.

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