About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted March 13, 2014 by
    chicago, Illinois
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What do you love about Chicago?



    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Reynaldo Leal, a 21-year-old student from Chicago, penned a moving essay about all the reasons Chicago is everything to him. "People should understand that Chicago isn't just one troubled neighborhood. We have over 150 neighborhoods and only a few in the South Side are areas where crime and poverty are serious problems, but what about all of the other thriving, cultural places around the city where people live side by side in harmony and learn from each other's diverse backgrounds and ways of life?”

    The accompanying photo, filtered with the VSCO and Whitagram apps, shows graffiti that reads, “The city is yours,” in Lincoln Park this March.

    Chicagoans: What do you love about the city? Share your own video or essay.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Chicago is a city that is a microcosm of America's great diversity.

    The world has many cities, but only one Chicago. I've traveled to Europe and the Middle East, as well as to other American cities and still none of these places have given me the same butterfly feeling I get in my stomach as I walk down State Street or take a jog in Lincoln Park.

    Chicago is invincible. We are a city that got virtually wiped out in the 19th century but rebuilt it into what is now a thriving global city.

    We are a city that welcome's the world's poor and embraces diversity.

    Chicago is fierce and strong. No matter how cold or how hot it might get during the most unusual times, we don’t complain, this city has taught us how to deal with the worst Mother Nature has to offer.

    Chicago is one. Not two or three or five. No matter where you are in Chicago, the South side, the north side, or the west side, we all come together as Chicagoans, unlike other cities where people are "brooklyn" or "queens".

    Chicago is kind, Chicago is alive. Whether it’s in Boystown or Wicker Park , you can feel the city’s energy running through your veins.

    Chicago is an endless adventure. No matter how long you’ve lived here, there’s always hidden treasures you stumble upon in the randomest of times and most unusual places.

    Chicago is the world in one place. It’s being able to get tacos in the little village one day for lunch and Tzatziki in Greek town the next.

    Every day I wake up and see that powerful, breathtaking skyline, I feel inspired to work hard to make my city even greater. I proudly tell people “I’m from Chicago” no matter what misconceptions they might have.

    Chicago is ours, Chicago is Mine
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