Last night I, along with a good number of BUILD clergy, the Western District commander, the Mayor and a large group of community members gathered at the corner of Lanvale and McKean, the location where five year old Amy Hayes was shot in front of her grandmothers house walking back from the corner store. We gathered as a united community to grieve, lament and commit ourselves to finding a better way forward.
It was a sobering reminder of the vast disparities in this city we call home. Amy will likely recover physically, but the conditions that led to this incident remain unchanged on that corner and in neighborhood around the city. And Amy Hayes’ family and friends were not going to let any of us off the hook. The consistent refrains were: “where were you all last week?” “We haven’t seen this many police since Freddie Gray” and of course “we don’t need walks we need jobs, Mayor!”
And they weren’t wrong. In fact there was another murder around the corner earlier in the day that no one was spilling many tears or ink over. We arrived to pray but we left having been preached to, and perhaps having our own hearts turned by some unlikely voices.
So this Thanksgiving I am thankful to live on a safe street where my kids can walk to the park by themselves without me worrying about them being shot. And I am thankful that this city still has a strong moral core, and that people from all walks of life will still show up to say “no more.”
And I am also thankful to have a community here at Memorial and in the neighborhood around us that always rises to the challenge. And I have no doubt that we will be able to turn the abundance we enjoy into hope and opportunity for our broader community.