By Mar-Quin’Seon Johnson

When I moved here, I knew right away I would love this community — the atmosphere, the people and the culture. The atmosphere is friendly based on how social the tenants are. There is the “hood” stereotype here when outsiders see us. But those stereotypes don’t define us. Our mannerisms are peaceful. The neighbors here keep me humble and charismatic. 

A lot of the kids in this neighborhood don’t get taken seriously based on their background, but I try to set an example to the kids who are being labeled rebellious and/or mischievous.

The Eastland neighborhood is my first solo home as an adult. Before I moved here, I lived at my mom’s house in Historic Southside. I stayed with her for six months to restructure myself so when I spread my wings, I could soar freely by understanding the mechanisms of the world and how to live, not just survive. My mother actually did me a solid favor of grace by finding me the place. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. 

I sprouted out of Historic Southside. My mother and grandmother raised me on respect and care for values beyond the surface level – through character building and mannerisms. My grandpa and dad taught me the stature of a man by transparency, accountability, provision, provide and protection of your family and lineage. 

I went to Daggett Elementary, McLean Middle School and Paschal High School. I moved away from Fort Worth to Benbrook for seven years. But I came back because there was work that needed to be done. 

I want to build an empire for the abandoned, misguided youth. I want to show them how when you put respect, care, belief, and commitment into your own people, even if it might be a grueling path of trial and error, it will be revered as more cherishable and honorable once it is manifested. I want to help the kids enhance their work ethic, belief and determination.

My heart never left the hood. I am a product of my environment. I will break the curse and stigma that are associated with my community and help make the community I come from a hallmark. Or I’ll die trying. I see myself being here and raising my son here in the future.

Despite its stereotypes, my neighborhood has such as being drug infested and uneducated, my neighborhood is not what it is painted to be. I’ve had nothing but love and admiration for my neighborhood. Peace is always displayed every time I step out of my door, and that is what home is supposed to represent.  

Mar-Quin’Seon Johnson has a broad sense of humor. He likes to go to the gun range, watch biographies and nature documentaries during his free time. His go-to music genres are jazz, hip-hop and R&B. And jogging in his neighborhood is one of his hobbies, too.

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Chongyang Zhang

Chongyang Zhang graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2021. Previously, he worked for his school newspaper, The Shorthorn, for a year and a half.