Oak Park’s silent divide


There’s a city I know

Once just a cow town

with plenty of trees and dusty roads.

Diverse groups of people

 Seeking to live equal.

Weather just right

no desert, no snow.

If you travel down Broadway

it serves as a hallway to the center

of the city’s heart.

Yet something is changing 

there’s been rearranging

in my community known as Oak Park.

Much like Columbus

developers have stumbled upon us

and see an opportune time.

Shaken some hands and bought up the land

while it’s cheap cause of the people you’ll find.

Bit by bit I am witnessing it,

Now coined the “New Oak Park.”

Bourgeoisie me’s, the Ghetto you’s

divided in two still, danger after dark.

The question I’m asking which no one is grasping…

“Tell me, what is community?” 

Proof of purchase? Profit made? 

Location and proximity?

The value of generations? Age old history?

Common groups of people? Or all types of families?

Do the lords of the land want us all?

Or only those who can afford it?

If we don’t own land, do we silently stand? 

Watching others smile and ignore us?

Are we solving our problems together? 

Or drawing a line that divides?

Are you active on what affects others?

Or only focused on your prize?

Is it hard to understand the struggles of a 

community you do not know?

 Are you friends with a council member, but not 

the pastor, prostitute or wino?

Are you serving those who drive miles to come?

Yet look past your elderly neighbor?

Do you brag about your investment? 

Yet forget to show the hood your favor?

Do you have relationships with others? 

Do you support a local cause?

Do you volunteer at schools? 

Do you fairly give out jobs? 

Do you take advantage of your status? 

Are you privileged with the best?

Do you share that hand of cards with those who you 

know are trying their very best?

Is Oak Park your place of business? 

What makes it your community?

Do you give or take? Make or break the co-

existence in true unity?

Is this too much to ask?

Will it disrupt the city’s big new theme?

So what is community, if we can’t ALL reside?

If we all cannot own?

If we all cannot live? 

If we all cannot learn? 

If we all cannot give?

What is community?

If we segregate just to gain?

What is community without shared our joy and pain?

What is community if we watch the slow 


I welcome the new you, but I refuse to die. 


  1. wavery clemons says

    It will continue to happen as long as we are not given credit to purchase property on the same level as other groups. The system has Oak Park in its crosshairs and it too will be taken down. The community has to unite to stop it, but then what do you do?

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