Leonard Gage Jr. has lived through challenges some could not even imagine. In the process, he learned from past failures and found a reason for hope.
Russell “Rusty” Green hauls buckets of tools from in front of a home just north of West Roosevelt Drive, where he’s just finished a concrete stoop. Green’s fingertips, stained with a thin, permanent-looking layer of white dust, match his grizzled beard. “We’re losing our future,” Rusty says, as he leans against his cream-colored pickup truck. “See, the youth are our future, right? And this is how we live forever, this is how our name stays in the book of life forever — through our kids, grandkids and so on, and so forth.
Emanuel Coe bounces a basketball down W. Ridge Ct., headphones in, music loud. His large frame, qualified by kind eyes and a soft-spoken-ness rare in someone his age, seems, somehow, less imposing. Coe grew up in the neighborhood and says that it, simply, feels like home. “I loved bein’ around here. I mean, my family’s all around here and…I come from here, so.”