NOTE: THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. SEE ALL D & C ARTICLES.
• August 22, 2015
Like many, I heard for several days now following the shootings, there is vigil outside the Boys & Girls Club on Genesee Street.
Today on my way on my bicycle, I found the tail end of a community festival at the Restoration Church of God. All day the Church was providing free haircuts, braidings, manicures, clothes, hamburgers and hots attracting hundreds from the 19th Ward and beyond. These simple offerings of generosity shone through in what was left of the crowd and touched me to stop.
I spoke with Bishop Lee McCloud, Jr., his wife Mae, and event coordinator Billie Abddeen, learning that the pre-planned festivities were unconnected with the shootings. At the same time, Bishop McCloud thinks folks were especially receptive. Since the shootings, there has been a “riling up” in the air, and the community needed a place to feel unburdened. As Lee eloquently commented, “The event was pre-planned in my schedule, but in my eyes I only know now it was also planned in God’s book.” By this Lee meant that God had not planned the shootings, but that He already knew this was the right time for people to come together — and come away with stylish nails and fashionable hairodos!
Speaking of which, Billie gave my hair a careful diagnosis. A mess in the making without intervention. Time for the renowned, Billie’s Shape Up!
A few blocks later, the vigil was much like similar vigils. A dozen or so police cars parked across the road at Wilson Magnet High School; four officers making sure there was no trouble.
Mourners and supporters comforting each other. The bittersweet mixture of faith, loss and hope. This time, for me, the feeling was a little different. My spirit already uplifted a few blocks before on 595 Frost Avenue.