We lived in Bethel Park, an upscale suburb of Pittsburgh. My brother is white—we were both adopted. A kid in school came up to us and called me a “nigger” and my brother “a nigger lover” This was the ‘90’s. Kids made me feel like because I’m black, I’m ugly. I suffer from depression and low self-esteem because of that. My dad had a paint set in the basement and I started to paint myself as white. My dad came down, saw my painting and just hugged me.
When my dad died, I married Greg, who I met in community college. We moved into Section 8 housing in Pittsburgh. Our neighbors were selling drugs. I reported them but instead of the housing authority kicking them out, they told the neighbors I reported them and I started getting death threats. I wasn’t safe; they attacked my husband, harassed our kids. We went to a shelter and decided to relocate to Chicago.
We stayed at a Salvation Army shelter. I met with Heartland Alliance and they helped with our needs. My husband has MS and started having seizures. We were in Logan Square but our landlord didn’t comply with city codes and we had to leave—we wound up homeless a second time. The New Hope Apartments through Catholic Charities paid our rent for 2 years. We moved here in Englewood 5 months ago.
We go to a bilingual Pentecostal church and I do outreach to Puerto Rican and Mexican communities. I’m just happy now. I’m working with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless helping homeless find resources.