An interview with Delois Steward, Peace Gardener

How long have you lived in Englewood?

I’ve lived in Englewood for 48 years, on 66th and Honore. In the 48 years I lived on 66th and Honore, I’ve always been a giver. I’m out at 7 o’clock in the morning cleaning up the streets. I give back. From the kids coming to school, I stand on the corner to make sure the kids cross safely. I’m always there.

Why did you get involved with I Grow Chicago?

I came down to spread my love. Y’all are doing such positive things, and that means so much to me. It means I’m not alone.

What does the garden mean to you?

How I feel when I come out to the garden – that’s my peace. When I wake up each morning, there’s a lot going on. It’s a blessing to be on the land of the living. But when I enter the garden, it’s just peace, peace, peace. The people come by from all over, and they get to feel the warmth out there. The garden is where I get my love from. I can come to that garden anytime. As soon as I enter, whatever’s going on with me – it’s just peace, peace, peace.

What legacy do you want to leave with I Grow Chicago?

I love my people. I just love my people. I was three years old when KKK marched down Marquette Road and threw bombs in our houses. A lot has changed, and now I’m here.  You all give me my tools to work with, on everyday situations, what I’m lacking in. Y’all give me my tools, so I can deal. I’m getting my love from that garden, and I just love giving back to the community.