We're back in MN. Today a student came into my office and said during her sleep yesterday, she dreamt repeatedly that her group was busy preparing to go plant trees in the ninth ward. I'm still in New Orleans, she said.
My group, the La Vang group, went a last time to the lower ninth, on Friday afternoon. We walked around the silent, empty streets separately. There was a community park, deserted. There's lots of tall clover and some cat tails. I stood at an interesection and thought that this devastation occurs every day in America. Yes, a year and a half after the levees broke, there is not a coordinated and well resourced effort to rebuild this place. Yes, everyday there are people and neighborhoods devasted by US policies and history.
Yes, there are people, like us, who care and who work for justice. This is a daily affair.
In the lower ninth, Kelsey heard a gurgling water sound and found a water pipe that had burst spurting a small fountain that was soaking the block.. We called Common Ground and they were sending people over to stop up the water. We then spent some time at a tree that an artist decorated with pictures of birds. We talked about the journey for freedom, for justice.
We talked about how odd it was to feel, for several of us, at this moment, at this juncture, a sense of peace. Odd, to talk of peace in this place of devastation, but true. The work, the evolving conversations, the acknowledgement that so many, many students and others contribute, all these aspects helped us to leaven the grief, anger, despair, numbness, and pain so that we could indeed speak of peace; the peace, the shalom, that helps each of us to continue in whatever ways, our acts of solidarity.
Coordinator of Service-Learning