Thursday, May 12, 2005

one day, one chance, one goal...

Yesterday served to be a day of much preparation. This week has been focused on talking to children, talking to adults, just trying to figure out this community I love more than any other community I can't live in.

Anyway...the goal: Lunches for children, money for activities, funding for the community...kids can't use the libraries without paying money, the swimming pool...and other community things. Out of a community full of organizations, stores, churches, companies, it's hard to believe that no one really gives a damn about these kids. So all week long I thought and thought and thought about where I fit in thie community...the answer is I don't...I moved...I don't live there and I won't go back...but truth also is I never moved..my heart hasn't left that community. So I had one day, one time, one chance and I was going to make the most of it. I wanted to say something to Bill Black and Rick Winkle that would make them think.

One goal, one chance, one day and six children..we joined 1500 disadvantaged children in the state of Illinois and lobbied outside the capital. When our time came we went to meet with Bill Black and Rick Winkle...I had my speech...my questions...and I had my kid...he was going to say it for me...who better to tell the cries of a child than a child itself. He is a fifth grader, smart, logical, brave and has more potential than any kid I've met, but statistics show that because of the community he lives in..Deandre has little chance for success.

The day before our one day, one chance, one goal...we came to find out the kids needed to dress formally..these kids don't have formal dress clothes...I was heated. If they had dress clothes, we could sell them for money...how generic do our government officals have to be..who do they think they are...if these kids can go before Jesus is scruffy clothes, why can't they go before politicians. But this wasn't stoppin me....

So they day came and I was dressed nicely, but not extravagant...and we took a van full of kids in jeans and t-shirts into the capital. The kids didn't smell their finest, they were a mixed race of kids and they had one goal, one vision, and one day to be heard. We walked up the stairs with determination and success in our minds...these kids for the first time were given the right to tell their story of how mom works two jobs, dad left when they were three, there are 5 kids, and their housing is inadequate, buying shoes is nearly impossible, food is hard to come by and the local commerce and business don't take care of their own, church...sure the people who hold their african heritage gather in one building in town..but few churches blend the breeds...and few church care enough to swollow their ego and pride and succumb to the ways of the poor.

Deandre comes to me and is nervous...I tell him...Deandre...you own this program...you own this community...take it in your hands and fight for what you want...don't be intimidated...these senators and legislators should be intimidated by you. As we walk up the steps...into the offices...the republican party called caucus...our kids sat is disappointment as the reality came that we could not get in touch with our legislators and senators...their hearts sunk...they wore defeat...their heads lowered...the day was rounding down..one day, one chance, one goal...was lost...

We were in the hall buying our weary soldiers soda and some man that I still don't know comes up and calls me by name (no name tags) and says you go to the U of I right. I'm like yeah...we talked for a few...then Rick Winkle's secretary knew me...I looked at the kids and said..we're not done...they will hear our voice.

I want to skip everything else and share the ending. 6 kids...one day, once chance, one goal...left the state capital knowing they had to go back to school and speak in an assembly about their day thinking they did nothing..accomplished little and felt defeated. Truth is Rick Winkle and Bill Black already heard what I had to say....but facing kids is harder than facing a 23 year old grad school student who has ever fight in the world to make their lives better. Deandre left saying there was nothing worth saying...but if I know Deandre...with his head held high...his voice not quivering...Deandrea is going to challange Rantoul children to grab hold of their lives, their futures, their dreams and plow through the people who have no desire for change.

Six kids, one day, one chance, one goal...get lunches this summer...if i have anything to do with it will be able to swim and check out library books like every other child. Thanks to the two amazing parents I have, they will all have summer shoes...they will have clothing they need...food...if the community is deaf...I guarantee these children everyone is not deaf...their voices were heard in amazing ways...by people they barely know...

Republicans....all I've got to say...I have a lot more respect for the democrat parties that heard the chicago area project youth...republicans...yeah they do represent the christian side of the world much better...i understand...i really do...caucas...the christian lifestyle...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Peace Corp...

It's been awhile since I've written...a lot has been happening. Lately my thoughts seem to be far from home. As school is rounding down for me and decisions about the future mark my life, I've been trying to figure out what life is really about. I used to think it involved the church, but I've decided that church plays very little role in my life anymore. So I think deeper...does it involve social work...and I firmly believe that social work is everything that I need and everything that needs me...but I really have no passion for it right now...a part of me is so burnout with this life. So my mind is on the peace corp. Jamaica to be exact. It looks quite possible that I will be heading towards Jamaica in a year. I'm hoping that this will give me a new focus...I'll get away from the church for a few years...maybe I will one day be able to return...fully return...but for now...the pain is too intense...to severe...and too deep...healing can't come inside the walls that I don't trust...but I really believe that a part of me lies in another country. I've never done such a thing but I can't describe how deeply my thoughts revolve...showing people survival in another country, listening to them, counseling them, but most of all loving people again. My heart is already beginning to love these people that I've never met. I can't describe it..I haven't loved anyone but my youth in so long...I'm beginning to fill the same level of love for these people I've never seen that I feel for the youth that I know like the back of my hand. It's refreshing for love to captivate me again...yet I feel everything inside me hurt because I'm not there right now...that's a similar feeling to how I feel with the youth...I love them but can't be with them...I'll be glad to love in person what I love in heart again...but I will be a while yet. My friend may go with me...I really hope she does...she's an amazing person and has a heart for people too. So I guess as the pages turn in this world...really I'm still a little girl searching for someone or something to love.