Community Post

What road will he travel?

I returned yesterday morning from a few days out of town to the terrible news about Tyrone Love.  After reading the reports here and elsewhere, I decided to take a walk, get some groceries on the Hill, and see what was going on up and down Union.

As I walked back from the store along Union, I was struck by the amount of garbage collecting on our streets.  More empty cans of malt liquor, airplane bottles of booze, baggies, and assorted junk than I can remember (Union b/w 23rd and 25th looks downright wrong).  Whatever agreement exists with Key Bank doesn’t seem to be working.

At 21st and Union, I saw an assortment of young men doing what they typically do–selling drugs openly up and down Union, particularly between their house (you know the one) and the bodega on 20th and Union.  They were taunting passersby and probably not being too welcoming to pedestrians, although I didn’t call the cops on them:-)

After crossing 23rd heading east, I noticed a young man, probably 11-12 years old, holding a sign at 24th and Union.  I said, “hey man, what’s your sign say?” and he turned it around to show me.  “Car wash”, it read, and I looked over into the driveway to see 3 of his friends scrubbing tires vigorously.

This was quite a moment for me, on this hopeful and sunny afternoon in late winter.  Here we had what I am assuming, with only a small amount of doubt, were 6-8 kids whose “vocation” was drug dealing, while just down the block we had the future hanging on by a thread.  This young man and his friends, working hard to make a few extra dollars on their vacation, will have a choice to make soon–look just up the road and decide to follow their elders into a dead end future of quick money or take the road we all hope they travel, with education, opportunity, hard work, and success in their future.

As we mourn another person murdered in our community, and we think about what we want this community to look like, let’s remember this young man and his friends and how we can all help them take the right road forward.  This community will not always “be that way”, although it will be if we let it be so.


0 thoughts on “What road will he travel?

  1. Thanks for the cue about the car wash – hope they’ll still be there when I go out this afternoon. Got my car washed last year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have it done again!

    Key Bank – there’s been some behind-the-scenes effort to get them to live up to their promises when they remodeled last year (there’s been some improvement, but not enough). A diligent neighbor in the 24th ave. block watch has found that at least as of a couple of weeks ago, the bank does not have an on-site manager (they were supposed to get one last mid-July, per the temporary one I personally spoke with at their celebration early in July – I don’t know if they got one and he/she moved on since then, or whether they never filled the vacancy). Perhaps some neighborhood pressure is in order.

    There do seem to be fewer cars parked there during nonbanking hours than there used to be – but there aren’t supposed to be any. Doesn’t seem like their monitoring system is working.

  2. Doesn’t nearly every business with a parking lot have Lincoln towing or some other towing company patrol their lots and tow cars parked there that are not on the “list” of after parking hours allowed parkers? Why is Key Bank not doing what every other business does? Do they consider business here to be different?
    Where are their corporate offices and what are the pnone numbers?

  3. Right before I read your story, I read this article in the Times, from last week (I’m a little behind on news). It’s about a city program that provided mentors, jobs, and recreation to help kids reject the gang/dealer life.

    I often dismiss these types of programs but it seems that in this case, and many others, they worked, and helped keep kids like those you saw running the car wash from turning into the dealers outside the convenience store. As far as mentoring, we don’t need a city program to do that. I was inspired by reading stories about Tyrone Love’s work with kids and youth and would like to get involved. Anyone know of mentoring/Big Sister type programs in the CD?

  4. The smiley face was a reference to two recent posts about calling the police that created a minor outrage here.

    I did not see them exchange $ or drugs, so I didn’t call the police. Rest assured I do call pretty regularly when I witness crack heads and dope slingers meet.

  5. check with Kevin Roberson at the Teen Life Center. He has a host of mentoring programs you can plug into–midnight hoops games, teaching basic computer skills, etc.