A ray of light on 595 Frost Avenue

A ray of light on 595 Frost Avenue

Ray of ligth

Getting my hair cut by Billie Abddeen

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.

ray of klight 2

Billie Abddeen, Mae McCloud, Bishop McCloud

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!

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Outside the Boys & Girls Club, Genesee Street, August 22nd

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.

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Vigil at the Boys & Girls Club

SEE ALSO

An art museum as a place of meaning in a time of senselessness

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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