“A month ago in DC there had been a homicide involving a 18 year old young lady who had been stabbed by a 16 year old girl after a dispute at a bus stop. Sadly the 16 year old who has since been arrested is also 7 months pregnant and going through her pregnancy while in a secure facility. I have been working with both the victim’s family along with the suspects family to help stabilize them as they live 200 ft. from each other. Last week, we went to move the suspects family out of their home into a new neighborhood.
“We normally rely on a nonprofit to assist with the moving, but I ended up helping organize this one which looking back now I realize had a greater hand organizing than mine. We knew the move could become violent. The last two times the family of the suspect had come to get belongings from their home, the neighborhood had thrown items at them and assaulted the family even with police being present. We planned the move early in the morning on a rainy day, hoping many of the neighbors would still be in bed before we finished.
“That wasn’t the case. The mother of the victim came outside and began yelling at the suspects mother with emotion that could only come from a mother who last lost a child. Even with two patrol cars parked outside the home, she began knocking on doors and windows waking up her neighbors to come out and help her get back at the other family. A man in his mid-twenties came out side to support his mother, his sister had been the victim in the homicide. He began to yell and call his friends to come out and help their cause. Then he looked up and saw I was there helping the family move.
“All of a sudden this whole situation that was continuing to escalate, took a turn. Eight years earlier, I had taken this young man on a trip down a river in Utah when he was in the juvenile justice system. It was friendship and a relationship that was needed to de-escalate the current situation I found myself in moving this family out of a violent neighborhood, and it was a friendship that came to the rescue. The young man introduced me to his mother, “Mom, this is Mr. John. He took me down the grand canyon a few years ago.” I told the young man if there was anything we could do to get his mom back inside until we got the other family moved out, we didn’t want anyone else getting hurt or caught up with police.
“He talked with his mom and those around him into going back inside until we finished moving. Others were outside still upset the family of the suspect was back to get their belongings. Other youth began to come out and get their mothers back inside. These youth also shared something in common with the brother of the victim, friendship. The youth in this neighborhood had participated in a program the police department runs to build relationships with youth. And it was their friendship that also drew them out of their homes to end a situation that had great potential to have ended violently. As each of the youth came over and shook my hand before going back inside, the officers on the scene looked at me wondering how that had just happened. How did I happen to know each of these kids and how without speaking a word to them did they understand what needed to be done?
“God brings us into the lives of others and crosses our paths for reasons sometimes we don’t know or understand. But it’s those friendships and relationships in unlikely places that come to the rescue just when we need them.
“Can’t wait to continue to connect with each of you through Community Renewal Capital Area and grow those friendships through a greater love with ALL of those whose paths we all cross!”