Date Night!! And some Love....

We sent Laurel away for the night and went on a date. It was very hot last night, so we drove to the movie theater, which is a bit unlike us, but, well....it was very, very hot. We went to see Moonrise Kingdom and it was charming and fantastical, just like the reviews said. But even better than seeing a pretty good movie, was that we discovered the movie theater has been renovated. It no longer smells like stale popcorn and the floor isn't sticky. Also, there's a bar in it, and you can take your drinks into the theater.

On the way home, I was on the lookout for criminals, because we've had a rash of armed robberies in the neighborhood. This seems to happen every summer. There have been a lot of shootings in the city recently, as well. Sad stories of 17 year old kids shot dead at the bottom of a city staircase. Ever since I taught in a high school, the age of 17 seems so young, innocent, raw, and full of possibility. When I pulled into my driveway yesterday there were 6 police cars across the street, plus the detectives. Who knows what or who they busted, but the constant stream of drug dealers and prostitutes on that corner has turned into my little pet project for the summer.  It's hard to know how to handle drug dealers. Drug dealers bring drug users, and they are annoying to have around because they break into your house steal your property to feed their habit. Prostitutes are almost always drug users, and mainly it just makes me sad. But I have a hard time knowing what to campaign for on behalf of my neighborhood association, other than to just push them off "our" corner into somebody else's. I don't have any real solutions. I go to a lot of public safety meetings with police, the mayor's office, other community groups, think tank consultants and they don't really either.

But some people do. There is some serious Love with a capital L going on and her name is Vanessa German. She's an artist and a resident of Homewood, which is the neighborhood to the north of mine. She talks about her work at Love Front Porch. If you drive around the Homewood or Point Breeze you may have seen some of her yard signs popping up.

Go to her website and watch her video. And then toss some cash her way by clicking on the donate button. The donation website is a little cumbersome, but she has all kinds of marvelous perks you can get for your donation, including artwork painted by people who are hanging out on her front porch.

In the face of a crime spree in my neighborhood, I'm totally inspired to reach out, instead of locking myself in.


Anonymous said...

I hope you sent Laurel away to a safe haven.

"It's hard to know how to handle drug dealers." I think you should not be trying to handle drug dealers. Go inside your house, close and lock the door and call the police. Laurel will be needing her mother for a long time to come.

Aunt Mary

k said...

I know! Seriously, especially after I watch too many episodes of Breaking Bad, I get scared when I think about it.

And no, I do not chase them off myself. I do try to get pictures, license plates and physical descriptions so that I can make an accurate report to the police.

But the worst thing you can do in an urban neighborhood is stay inside and let the drug dealers have the corner.

We'll be organizing a party on our block for National Night Out, on August 7, but it's important that neighbors get out every night, on their porches, on the streets, getting to know each other and know who belongs there and who doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Good! I like that approach. What do the police do with the info you give them?

Maybe Love Front Porch could set up a branch on your side of Penn Avenue. Maybe the gas station could donate some space and a shelter for the kid artists. M

k said...

Books are my Front Porch effort. :) I'm going to put up a mini community library and start a weekly story hour.