This morning I couldn’t sleep, so I went to take breakfast to my favorite crew on a job site. As I was making the rounds with the site superintendent, one of our team members mentioned that he hadn’t gotten much sleep either because his sister’s home had been shot up in Eatonville. His nieces were there with his nephew, who almost got hit by one of six bullets that hit the front of their house. When the mother went outside, she saw a person dead with his brains “hanging out” on the sidewalk. Her family had gone to stay with her brother, who was standing with me on this job site at 6 am. Understandably, he couldn’t sleep much last night either.
I finished the rounds and completed my business on site, before heading back to the office. Somehow when I read the business journal, I found it hard to get excited about the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s picture would be appearing on the backside of the new five dollar bill. It doesn’t seem to change things for the people living in Eatonville, and all over the United States, who are waking up to bullet holes in their walls and dead people in their yards.
Last week, I heard of two gang related shootings in West Orlando in one day. A friend of mine who teaches at The Human Experience, a private school that supports at-risk children from some of the worst areas of town, posted this picture on Facebook with two separate stories of gang violence that had impacted his life in twenty-four hours.
One was a student who texted him from his home in Parramore, scared because his street was blocked off and his mother couldn’t get back to him. Their neighborhood was on lockdown from a shooting with six victims. At least one dead. The other was one of the school’s “most intelligent, creative, sweet, and promising former students” who “had to witness her mother being shot.”
My heart is broken for Orlando. God help us all, if we sit by any longer and let this continue to happen to another generation. Stop focusing on the political circus that is the U. S. Presidential elections and open your eyes to the ways you can get involved in your community to help those in need. Donate to the Human Experience. Volunteer as an after school tutor at the New Image Youth Center in Parramore.. Clean up Parramore this weekend with The Orlando Union Rescue Mission. Placing Dr. King or Harriet Tubman’s picture on currency won’t do much to change this reality for black, hispanic, immigrant or poor white communities affected by gang violence all over the country, much less in Orlando. But you can begin to do something to help your community today.