Monday we had more than 40 volunteers from 4 local congregations turn out to celebrate MLK Day with us in Hillside and Fairfield Court. We had over 300 community residents participate in these celebrations. It was wonderful to see black, white, people of means, people with limited means, urban, suburban, Christian, non-Christian all together celebrating the progress this nation has made toward racial equality as a result of the sacrifice and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tag Archives: violence
Saturday was one of the largest Blessing Day Events we have had at Embrace Richmond in the four year history of the event, with more than 100 individuals from all over the city turning out to bless Hillside court. MCV brought over a dozen health care professionals and students who assessed the health care needs of more than forty residents during our health fair, roughly 80 coats were distributed, two families received furnishings and volunteers from five different congregations walked every section of the community greeting residents and praying for the families of those who have lost their lives in Hillside court in the past six months. The night prior to the Blessing Day, yet another youth was shot in the Hillside community. Thankfully the young man was not killed.
As a part of our debriefing process we ask volunteers three questions. First, “What will you leave behind as a result of this experience?” Secondly, “What memory will you take with you?” Lastly, “What will you do different as a result of this experience?”
In December, I wrote a post titled “Stop the Insanity” in which I shared a story of how one of our elderly community members was attacked, beaten and robbed and how no one came to her aid. This week another disturbing encounter took place between another one of our elderly community members and the youth of Fairfield Court.
Our friend, whom we will call Mrs. B, was on her way to our community gathering when she tripped and fell. Mrs. B is a large woman who is dependent on her cane to walk. When she fell, she cried out for help, but no one came. Mrs. B saw a group of youth standing close by and called out to them. Rather than come to her aid, these young people began laughing at her and calling her names. She realized that she was on her own, and began struggling to make her way to her feet, repeatedly falling which only caused the youth to laugh louder. After about fifteen minutes of struggling, Mrs. B was finally able to get to her feet, find her cane and continue on her way. However, the echoes of the laughter continued to torment her.
When Mrs. B arrived at our gathering, she burst into tears. She shared how she had fallen and we all assumed she had been injured. However, as she retold the story we realized that it was her pride that had been bruised. The youth had not beaten her like our friend several months back, but their laughter had humiliated her and only further caused her to distrust and fear the youth of her community. I wondered several months ago how anyone could be so cruel as to beat an elderly woman and I realized as she shared her story, that perpetrators of violence often start off with small acts of cruelty that only grows more intense over time as they dehumanize their victims.