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When asked to prepare the foreword for “The Twelve Voices,” the first thing that came to mind was the twelve disciples of Christ–twelve individuals who were “called from among them.” The next thought was twelve months in a year, accompanied by twelve zodiac signs–each being significant for its own reason. The next thought went to the numbers one through twelve on a clock–and that at every twelfth hour, we meet those numbers twice. Since we are in the holiday season, the twelve days of Christmas entered my mind, and how that “true love” said twelve things, preparing a loved one for twelve gifts. There are twelve jurors in a trial, twelve inches in a foot, and twelve face cards in a deck of playing cards, which could make or break the hand you’ve been playing.

Without question, the number twelve is significant for these aforementioned reasons and many more, just like the Twelve Voices of the Chicago Defender will prove to be. Through these various voices in columns, we will explore the voices of fashion, finance, technology, and voices that will simply make you think longer and harder about what’s going on around you.

If you’re ready for change, looking for that next great business to support, trying to find the pulse of a community, or in need of columns that will blow your mind, say hello to The Twelve Voices.



The On Spot: It’s About Choices 

By Elle Smith

12 Voices

It’s absolutely amazing to see how the way one chooses to “live” can have an impact on so much. If you live a healthy life, your body and skin will reflect this. If you live a fast-paced life, your body and skin will reflect this as well. But in your living, have you ever given thought to how your choices of life will make (or break) a difference in the lives of those around you, and even in the lives of people you don’t even know?

As a teenager, one thing I remember doing is breaking curfew. Maybe not tons of times, but I do remember the times where I broke curfew with no explanation as to why. At the time, I was only concerned with whatever “fun” was going on in that moment…never giving a second thought to what my parents may have been going through while I was out. You see, now that I am older, and I have had many “close calls” and such, I tend to think about what my actions may be doing to someone else. As a teenager, if I had only taken a moment to think about how my parents worried until I walked through that door, maybe curfew wouldn’t have been ignored.

The reason why I am able to think more about another person is because of so many “life decisions” that are broadcast on the news, in newspapers, in magazines, etc. Chicago has been known for quite some time for the violence that takes place in this city. Some of the violence is attributed to “individuals and their decisions.” Here’s an example to ponder: a young man, maybe age 18, has found himself mixed in with a criminal crowd and decides to venture off into selling drugs. Well, this young man eventually embraces gang culture and has committed several crimes. Yet, this same young man comes to his home every night, and his family may or may not know what is TRULY going on with him in the streets. As fate would have it, he was robbed by a rival gang member…and his money for drugs sold is due. He tries to have a conversation with his leader, but the conversation does not go as planned. The young man now finds himself hiding from the same people he initially embraced. Those same people are only following the orders they were given, and now the young man’s family finds themselves injured, and their home has been shot up, or worse. This young man’s “life decisions” are now impacting the lives of those around him.

Changing the narrative: what if he had gotten mixed in with the studious and seriously focused crowd, looking to go to college, graduate, and have successful careers? The lives around him would also be impacted because his family would have something to be proud of, and the money that he would make in his career would sow seeds into the generations that would come after him…children that he may not ever get to know.

Your living should never be in vain. Have you ever heard the phrase “our lives are not our own”? Tis very true, people. The way we choose to live is connected, often times, by how someone else will be ABLE to live. This is not to say that you have to live your life to PLEASE other people, but just know that your choices could potentially groom the next POTUS, or the next parolee.

Elle enjoys early morning drives during the holidays, her daily cup of Starbucks, writing, listening to oldies, and tending to her ShihTzu Bella. You can find more about her via her Digital Marketing Firm page at @prbyelle77_, & also her Chicago Black Restaurant Week Page at @officialchicagobrw.



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