31 March 2009

I woke up not too long ago worried about how I'm gonna pay my rent and bills. I have been laid-off for two-and-a-half months now and no matter how many applications I fill out and how many resumes I send I still don't have a job. I have been fortunate so far that I have people who have been able to help me but it gets annoying to always ask for help, especially when your used to doing things on your own. This all has been a very humbling experience for me.

There's a saying amongst the folks I volunteer with: "If you're gonna pray, don't worry; if you're gonna worry, don't pray." Good point. That's all I can really do right now because everything else isn't working. It doesn't mean that I won't continue to try.

Maybe I'll hit the lottery. Now...if only I had the dollar to by the mega millions ticket... Nah; time to fill out more applications.

29 March 2009

I rode through Avondale today and it was such a sad sight.

I remember playing at the park at the corner of Harvey and Hickory. Just a week-and-a-half ago, two men were killed execution style in a house on Hickory. I remember walking to school and stopping at the beauty supply store to get a lollipop from the owner. All that remains is a boarded up building with graffiti on it. What once was business and not so littered streets is now nothing but blight and tons of litter.

My mom was with Matt and me and she bumped into a guy she knew from back in the day. He bummed 45 cents off of her. When we hit the road again mom saw another woman that she said been on the streets bummin' for 20 years, addicted to crack. The man my mom knew looked to be more of an alcoholic than a crackhead.

"Crack and alcohol were the worst things to ever be introduced to the black community", I said. Matt and my mom agreed.

I really don't know or understand why these types of issues are so prevalent in my community. I have heard many theories but it seems that no one can come up with a concrete answer. I'd venture to say that there has to be more than one answer for such a complex issue.

The Obama administration is dedicated to fighting the drug war in Mexico. The stuff I've seen on the news and read online sounds like the stuff movies are made of. Very very scary things. But what I see happening in the old neighborhood seems to be the realization of my biggest fear--we, black folk, are perpetually cursed by... I don't know what exactly because, that too, is a complex issue.

Aren't we are more than drug addiction, liquor stores and hopelessness? We are a people of thinkers, artisit, inventors, teachers...positive contributors to our society. The black community can be greater than is it because were are very capable of being people who accomplish great things. I know we are and I know we can.

28 March 2009

Today was such a beautiful day--warm and sunny with so many flowers in bloom. I spent my Saturday afternoon at Washington Park with a group from Shiloh Seven-Day Adventist church feeding the homeless that hang in the park.

Everyone there isn't homeless because of misfortune, of course. You can look at the folks who can't help but to shake because of their alcoholism or you can see the gaunt features of the crack addicts who have yellowish burns on their thumb and index finger from the crack pipes they use. Either way these are people who need our help. Neglecting them because one doesn't want to admit that there's an issue isn't the way to go because it never works.

The city of Cincinnati seems to be good at doing that. For the longest time Washington Park and Over-the-Rhine were places "designated" for the poor, the addicted, the uneducated. Now that the city wants to turn the area round Washington Park into an arts district officials are jumping to fix things. Washington Park School, the neighborhood school, was torn down to create parking for Music Hall. A block up the new building for The School for Creative and Performing Arts is in the middle of being constructed. You have to audition to go there. That leaves the only neighborhood school 10+ blocks up from where Washington Park School was. Vine Street School is overcrowded and in need of renovation. The other neighborhood school, Rothenburg, was supposed to be renovated seven years ago but the Cincinnati Public School system proclaims that it doesn't have enough money to fix it. This school system is spending 72 million to build another SCPA but they don't seem care that the children of Over-the-Rhine are left hanging.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory wants federal money to build a trolleycar system. That wouldn't be such a bad idea if there weren't other pressing issues that need funding--schools, the Banks project, putting more cops and first responders on the streets, rehabbing Over-the-Rhine...