Don’t Judge a book by its cover
On a daily basis I take the same route to work. For a while now I have been riding past this building on my way home with my music blasting and singing along. Occasionally on my drive home I noticed something very colorful. I can’t say that I paid close attention but somehow at some point the vibrant colors of t-shirts flapping in the wind grabbed my attention when passing by. There were quite a few at this time. I noticed the t-shirts had some numbers and letters on them. It seemed as if more were being added by the day and the illumination of colors, it began posing as a landmark for my halfway point to home.
Each time I passed, I paid more attention. I now noticed that the numbers were in fact dates along with ages ranging from 3 to 67. Each shirt had a name. On my way home that next evening I got stuck at the corner at a red light and saw the sign reading United Methodist church. My heart was instantly warmed. I thought to myself… wow those must be the names of men, women and children who were recently baptized or saved. Hallelujah!!! I imagined how exhilarating the idea was to recognize people who decided to change their lives publicly. The idea of living without a power greater than thyself gave me goosebumps. I reminisced about the day I decided to be saved. I felt immensely relieved. What a monumental moment. The rest of the ride home was subtle as I thought about the lives of those people and imagined what they were going through that brought them to a place of surrender.
Weeks went by as I traveled to and from work honking my horn when I noticed another shirt had been added. On this particular day I was driving home, and traffic was slow. Again, I was stopped at this red light. However, I took this time to view the dates on a few of the shirts and saw most were from 2021 and some early this year. Right as the light changed, I caught a glimpse of a sign at the very bottom of the gate. It read “Memorial to Philadelphians murdered by illegal guns” in big bold black letters. Across the bottom it had a short influential message saying, “heading Gods call to end gun violence”. I was literally stuck and flabbergasted. A horn blew loudly signaling me the light had changed and I was holding up traffic. I pulled off slowly, but my heart was beating rapidly. My mind began telling me stories. Could the precious life of that 3-year-old have been innocently taken while playing outside of his home? Could the 16-year-old have been waiting at the bus stop on her way to her first job? That 41-year-old walking home from a hard day’s work. The 66-year-old senior on her way to church gunned down from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I couldn’t’ stop playing scenarios over in my mind about the possibilities of what may have happened. I thought back to the day I believed these were saved lives but now hopelessly realizing the lives, some extremely short lived were gone. I thought heavily about the families. A tear dropped. I thought about the toll violence has on our community and another tear dropped. With so many people scared, people no longer engage in neighborhood activities. Businesses growth and prosperity of the future has stumped. While violence puts a strain on education, medical systems and almost never faces Justice. Instead of the community progressing it has come to a halt. As members of society were obligated to deal with the pressure of the challenges in overcoming violence. Assist in the transformation of resolving conflicts and fostering peaceful alternatives.
In plain, the effect of violence produces mental health, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This is our livelihood, families without families. Children without other children. (Support Anti-Violence)