Mama Cryin and Shit

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Victoria is a Catholic Navy wife and a new mom. Dahvie is an incarcerated Chicago gang member. They write letters back and forth (you can learn more about it here). In this post, Dahvie shares a harrowing experience of seeing loved ones fall victim to street violence.


Dahvie: To see your homies on the news.  Mama cryin and shit.  It’s a fucked up feeling.  I wake up to the deck screamin my name sayin my block on the news.  I jump up to see two brothers was gunned down at the restaurant.  Face shots.  Them was my lil bro’s too.  Even though we had some differences I still loved them. 

It hurt me to found out like this.  This war shit real.  Ain’t no turnin around you gotta be on point all day everyday cuz you never know when them niggas lurking.  Even though they was non factors the opps still scored tryna effect us.  It probably didn’t impact the guys but it definitely hit me.  72nd killa.  Fuck yogi, smoking fame.  Die ABK.  Period! [72nd and ABK are references to gangs and rappers]/

Victoria: Oh my goodness.  I bet that’s a tough feeling for sure.  Like, I couldn’t even imagine.  I've never experienced anything like that.  Is that weird for you?  I feel like you’ve grown up with this, so it’s normal for you to see violence like this.  Not that normal is the right word for it…it must be so tough, so hard to watch, especially at a distance like that. 

But can you even imagine that I’ve never known anyone who’s been shot?  Ever?  Like even in a non-lethal way?  It’s just moments like this…hard to imagine how different our lives have been.

Dahvie: It’s everyday life for me.  I’m actually numb to it.  It’s weird to me hearin how y’all live.  Y’all lingo y’all thought process is weird to me.  No offense.  It’s cool though, I’m no intimidated, or do I look down on it.  I accept it, just like my hood.  I accept it. 

I believe you know somebody who been shot they just ain’t tell you or embarrassed to admit it.  If you really don’t know someone (besides me) then my life, my cellie life, and everybody around me life really been fucked up.  Damn SMH.  Damn.  That would be so hard to accept.

Victoria: I’m sorry to have to say this, but I really have been thinking about it, and I just don’t think I know anyone who has experienced violence like that.  I have never, never, never, even considered the idea that I could be watching the news and it would be my neighborhood or a neighborhood in which my friends live.  I feel very strongly that I have lived in a privileged, constructed bubble—almost a fairytale.  It's hard considering this in face of all of the school shooting and mass shootings going on.  For you, that kind of tragedy is every day.  That's...that's overwhelming.


photo credit: T. Lindenhayn, 2019.