It is a shame that tragedy seems to be the necessary fuel to change the status quo. Excuses and fears seem to disappear when the inexcusable happens close to home. Often we comfort ourselves in believing that a mythical "Somebody Ought to Do Something About It" is just out there, already prepared and pro-active in a situation that may be only seen by our eyes, only heard by our ears, and only touched by our hearts.
"Somebody Ought to Do Something About It" failed to show up in the life of Ta'naja Barnes.
Because "Somebody Ought to Do Something About It" isn't a singular person. Its proper name is "Somebodies," or more correctly, "Some bodies."
At the candlelight vigil to remember a two-year old child relieved of unconscionable suffering and neglect, some bodies showed up. Some bodies resolved to never let this tragedy occur again within our neighborhood. Some bodies will now speak up, speak out, contact authorities, and know the strangers next door, even if they really don't want attention.
Because often those who want to be left alone from the neighborhood are often causing trouble inside their homes and keep the neighbors out from discovering the truth. Through fear and intimidation, they will continue their destructive behavior and/or habits. Only some bodies who refuse to cower to fear and intimidation will be able to overcome those who use fear and intimidation to keep truth concealed.
Neighborhoods are only as good as the sum of its residents committed to sustain and enhance the quality of life while living, working, and engaging in a shared living environment. I always find it odd when people seem to blame "the neighborhood" for its perceived or realistic level of criminal activity, as if the very buildings, sewers, services, or businesses have influenced individuals to behave badly. It is the classic unanswerable question between nurture and nature. Yes, there is some accuracy in speaking of a declining neighborhood with limited opportunities for career and education to attract less desirable residents and their activities. And yes, there may be some accuracy in less desirable residents seeking declining neighborhoods in order to continue their less than legal activities and habits.
What breaks the cycle between less desirable residents and less desirable neighborhoods becoming their destination? A neighborhood that refuses to accept either as the status quo, or the status quo as the inevitable final chapter of their story.
And to be the authors and entrepreneurs of Clokey Park's next chapter, we shall walk.
And to put the undesirable behavior and activities of a few of our neighbors on notice, we shall walk.
And to connect our struggling neighbors with the resources needed to meet their needs, we shall walk.
For this future, for this hope. Some bodies shall walk.
For this we walk.
North & South Witt.
North & South Stone.
North & South East Ave.
North & South 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd.
Each Sunday at 4 pm (Gathering at East Eldorado McDonald's) till 5 pm, weather permitting.