Esperanza gave me something I never had before; a sense of community. When I walk the streets, kids (and adults) say “Hello Mrs. Elizabeth.” I feel known and accepted. I feel a sense of belonging and I like it.
Yet, Last night two of our tenants were gunned down right in front of La Estrella.
What does this mean?
How can we combat this kind of violence? Do we cower in fear? Will we lose our sense of being able to confront “wrong” when and where we find it?
Many times my students have warned me not to call the poilce to report tagging or disturbing behavior because they fear for my safety.
One thought that gives me comfort is this; people who are full of hate, these are the ones who truly suffer.
At least when we are away from them, we can be happy. But they must live with themselves. They can never escape the hell they have made.
Many years ago, we did a neighborhood tree planting on Estrella Street. We got trees donated and planted 20 delicate saplings, which given time would grow to make Estrella Street with its lovely homes and apartments, a beautiful shady street. Planted by members of the community, that same night the saplings were all broken in half, destroyed by residents of the same community.
Why? Why choose to make your own neighborhood uglier?
If one is angry at society and full of rage at the unfairness of life, why graffiti a mural, why not graffiti and advertisement…or bank?(not that I’m recommending this).
But why fight the positive?
I feel sad. Sad for the victims of violence, sad for those who have chosen to make their lives an Earthly hell. Sad that our smat, ambitious youth might chose to leave.
And sad, so sad that this fear must be shared by all.