Fiction | June 02, 2021

Naming Ceremony

Mona Susan Power

It’s the spring of 1968 here in Chicago, and Mama says Old Mayor Daley has his big fists wrapped around our necks. She says he doesn’t care about brown people like us. “If this city had a proper name, it would be ‘Prejudiced, Illinois,’” Mama tells me while she braids my hair.

I’m in the second grade at school, so I know what that word is all about. It’s a mean word that says we can’t eat in just any restaurant, even if my parents have enough money, and we can’t move into just any neighborhood. If I got to name our city, I’d call it “Happy,” because sometimes you have to be nice to people and places and dolls if you want them to be nice back.

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