Kitty Perez’s first name is a nickname. Her birth name is “Katsumi,” and learning that, a person might be forgiven — I hope — for peering closer at the eyes above the mask and asking if she’s Japanese.
She’s not, she says, laughing. Her father named her for a Japanese porn star.
“I was his first kid,” she explains. “So everything was kinda weird.”
We are sitting in the brightly painted main room of the Crib, the Night Ministry’s youth shelter that moved earlier this year from a church basement in Wrigleyville to larger quarters at 1735 N. Ashland Ave. in West Town. The Night Ministry invited me to tour the new space and, so I didn’t visit an empty room, arranged for me to talk with former residents. Perez stood out.
“Right now, I’m sort of in the middle of transition over to an apartment,” says Perez, 19. “I’m also a mother. I have an almost 2-year-old daughter. She’ll be 2 in November.”
And how has that been?
“It’s been hard. I’m not going to lie. My ... well, I don’t call him my ‘partner’ at all. I call him my ‘sperm donor.’ Because he left as soon as I told him. He bounced, completely, to a different state. It’s been hard, especially during the pandemic. I couldn’t find no diapers anywhere. I couldn’t find no wipes. Everyone just stocked up on everything; I couldn’t find anything.”
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