Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So close but it seems so very far away....

Most of you that know me I think for the most part my personality is pretty even tempered. However, I have an extremely short fuse when it comes to seeing injustice especially when it is toward someone else.

I've been trying to process this for the last week or so but today over lunch I heard the story again and it just lit me up!

Nearly two years ago I begin developing a friendship with a guy that lives in the Monroe Circle Community. He was from the streets. I was not. Most men feared him. Me, not so much. D wanted to change his destiny. I needed to open my mind. So, we started a journey and it was not without its challenges but overall D was making great progress. He went through the STARs program at the Center for the Homeless, worked a few different jobs but had landed a great one several months ago. He loved it. His employer thought D was doing an amazing job and kept giving him more and more responsibility. Great pay and full benefits.

Then it happened. D cam home and had a small disagreement with his girlfriend. Nothing physical or abusive just louder than normal conversation. The next door neighbor called the police. Several squad cars arrive. Talk to both D and his girlfriend. No signs of injury. No tears. No screaming. His girlfriend tells the police everything is really ok and apologized for raising her voice. Not good enough - someone is going to jail and D is the chosen one.

Now here is were it gets even more bazaar. D has no less than 6 phone numbers of guys, good friends that he can call. But they confiscated his phone and his girlfriend did not have our numbers and was too embarrassed to tell anyone what happened at the community center. For two weeks we called and called and called with no answer only a voicemail message. Then even the voicemail was turned off. It was like D had just disappeared.

Two weeks later D calls. He has been in county jail for the last two weeks waiting for his girlfriend to get paid so he can get bailed out. It turns out that she isn't even allowed to bail him out or even talk to him because she is listed as the victim on the police report.

So, today over lunch D is sharing with us how he is trying to get his job back but right now it does not look promising. We've came so very far to break the grip of generational poverty with D over the last two years to have it slip away so quickly. But it seems like a big step backward.

I really don't want to blame the police, D, his girlfreind or even the neighbor lady. But is seems to me that we have built systems and thought patterns based upon the group and not the individual. It is so much easier to prejudge an individual based upon what we think a group of people that have different traits than we do might do.

I can't imagine how D must feel. The closest thing I can come to is the day a group of us were working at Cabrini Green in Chicago. From the walkway enclosed with security fencing you could see, all most touch, Chicago's Magnificent Mile - an icon of the American dream. It was right there but it felt like it could have been a million miles away.

D, we are right there with you. We will pick you up and walk with you again and again. Because if you fail, we fail and that is just too difficult to even think about.


Pat said...

What no comments? Seems like no one is out there...I'm here, just a grandmother woman, raised three sons and still can't get over the fact that they chose to serve the Lord.

Joy? Absolutely. But what about the others? I love "D" already and I find that his story inspires me to step up to the plate and get done what Jesus wants me to get done.

"D" you go for it, no matter how many times people "call you out!" Jesus is calling you "UP!"

You are a real man. I would be proud to call you my son! Blessings to you, Sir...Patricia Strefling

Bruno and Lisa deJesus said...

When we hear some one gets "picked up", ou natural tendency is to think it's their fault. But then you look at the consequences of someone's assumption, and it is just amazingly sad. However, I hope and pray that "D" will look at this as another obstacle the enemy wants to put in front of him to keep him from moving in God's direction. It's our job, the men of GCC, to support "D" as he is making a "BIG STEP" coming up soon, to disciple him in his new, righteous journey!

Bruno and Lisa deJesus said...


LeRoy King said...

Thanks Dan for sharing D's story. Sadly, this story places out too often among our young African American men.

D you are not along. We are here and Jesus is here. Keep "bringing it" in spite of the obstacles the devil will send your way. You are already a winner. That how God created you... a winner.

LeRoy King

Anonymous said...

As a police officer and a Christian, I know all too well there are two sides to the story- no make that three, because the truth is usually the inbetween story.

I have no idea who D is and the circumstances between what you report from likely hearing one side of the story. I can tell you that in cases of Domestic Violence, my experience on these calls, the 'arrest versus not arrest' scenario, and your retelling of th events has me skeptical.

I mean I don't make arrests on these types of calls unless there is some evidence of physical violence, a credible possibility f that happening if police leave without acting, one person has an active warrant requiring an arrest, or circumstances dictate that an arrest is obviously in order.

With that said, your telling of this story does not seem to fit one of these options, and as such, without knowing these people involved, and your recounting of this as likely told by D, I would be skeptical of the version of the events as you are retelling them.

Dan Blacketor said...

Anonymous - would appreciate the change to talk to you about this issue on a private email. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dan sure thing. Just need to know how to get in touch with you.

Dan Blacketor said...

My email address is dblacketor@gccwired.com. Thanks for caring. Thanks for sharing.