We were the ones who stuck together. We were the survivors and the dreamers, the givers and the movement makers. We held each other up—saviors. We discussed accountability. Discovered spirituality through supporting one another.

There, above my doorway, the purple-painted wooden sign that reads Intend. Harm-reduction. Trauma-informed. Advocate. Intentions we made to heal from oppression. We kept each other strong, empowered despite struggles. Gave each other care, confidence, survival. We thrived, together.

My community extended past friends and unfurled through the neighborhoods in which we lived. Those spaces made of safe, well-lit sidewalks, our flourishing community gardens, and the welcoming courtyards of each apartment building—from many windows waved a rainbow flag. Our little corner of Chicago. The one I floated through, peacefully, on that one particular July night. Weaving my way from bar to home, alone, I soon heard a jogger’s footsteps barreling...

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