Salyndrea Jones and Savannah Wright grew up in the former Stateway Gardens housing project in Chicago.
Now, they’re both college students. Jones hopes to be a director, and Wright, a judge.
The 18-year-old cousins talk frankly about love, old-school parents ... and kids these days.
[0:22] SALYNDREA: Do you have a love of your life?
SAVANNAH: Not right now, but I am looking for one.
SALYNDREA: So let me give you words of advice. Don't ever say you're looking for love. Let love find you.
Savannah says her mom is one of the people who's influenced her the most. She says her mom knows what it's like out there from life experience. Savannah talks to her mom every day.
[1:33] SALYNDREA: I didn't get into trouble growing up because like my mother didn't let me do nothing really. Even think about getting up to something. I was scared you know? Get some punishment or get whipped? I ain't got time for that. (Giggles)
SAVANNAH: Yeah, those old-school parents. They know how to do the discipline. Our new generation?
SALYNDREA: No discipline.
SAVANNAH: These parents?
SALYNDREA: These parents now are trying to be the children's friends.
The pair say their generation shares part of the blame, and so does the community.
[2:42] SALYNDREA: We've got too many youth that are being killed, like every day ... The crazy thing about it is it's only like in our neighborhood or in the poorest neighborhoods. This is where all of this is taking place. If we go somewhere else? You don't see 14-year-old girls walking around pregnant. Like kids at my school ...They're surprised because where they come from, they don't have to go through that. But where we come from, either you make it or you don't.
Both of them say the media is part of the problem. They point to friends who got full-rides to prestigious colleges, and they wonder why shootings made the news, but not scholarships.
Despite their concerns, Savannah and Salyndrea are both optimistic that their generation can turn things around.
NOTE: This interview was recorded in collaboration with the Chicago Cultural Alliance, a station partner.
Katie Klocksin contributed to this report, and Adam Peindl helped produce it.
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