Too Easy

Oct 4, 2010 by

There’s too many things spinning through my head, too much insanity that I’ve been pondering.

For instance, a two-year-old child gets caught in a crossfire between two people who have decided their beef with each other could only be settled by way of a hail of bullets in public. And then, because of its proximity to a second line that passed, too damn many are quick to condemn the second line for the decision those two people made, too easily lured into blaming the violence on “the culture” of the second line that, as Jordan Flaherty says in his latest book, “feels like a lawless but communal utopia…at those gatherings it can feel like a new world is being created simply through the reclaiming of public space as a liberated zone.”

To further the extension of that liberated zone, a small gathering at the Goodwork Network on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd happened this past Saturday, sponsored by the G & R Foundation, the Rebirth Brass Band, and the Young Men of Olympia Social & Pleasure Club, to collect funds for the grieving family of young Jeremy Galmon, who did not deserve his fate. You can continue to support the family financially by heading to any Liberty Bank branch nearby and telling the folks there you want some funds to go to the family…but you can do much, much more than that.

Take a cold, hard look at your own attitudes, at how quickly you might have jumped to conclusions. Check out your own culture and see how it might have contributed to this tragedy. Think long and hard about how much more any of us can take of these tragedies before something will snap inside us. Put the killing of a toddler into a much greater perspective that you might have ever thought possible. And chew on the following…

What I saw yesterday was a strong, word-of-mouth attempt by members of the culture that is repeatedly demeaned in this town to get some good healing going in the only way they knew how: fundraising through their gift of music. Members of Rebirth and the Baby Boyz Brass Band were playing it, the Free Agents were rocking it, the Roots of Music bandmembers had it flowing out into the street, and, though the crowd that gathered was small, passersby took flyers, contributed whatever they could at Goodwork, added their names and phone numbers to a list that grew steadily through the three hours of performances on the sidewalk, and tried, in their way, to make up for a potential world lost.

I say it was an attempt because, in the end, the underprivileged communities of this city need much more than the grassroots to keep them alive. They need support from much greater systems – like, say, our government at all levels – that they are not getting and haven’t really had for a long time, a situation in existence well before the levees breached. I know there are those who are tired of hearing this message or who may close their ears to it once again, but the message seems to need repeating over and over and over again, because one never knows when it might get through, or how.


Update, 10/5: More from Cliff on why the turning point against violence can be so damned hard to find.

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