Last night, Friday October 19, 2018, I stood on holy ground.
The gathering took place at the Joel E. Smilow Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. About 100 men of all ages gathered in the gym for a teen forum.
Teenagers sat in the bleachers. The elders, ranging from 30 to over 80 years old, sat in chairs on the gym floor facing the teens. There were fathers of some of the teens. At least one grandfather. Staff from the club. Friends. Friends of friends.
Several men shared their stories. Stories of mistakes. Of keeping on in the aftermath of a son’s death. Of endurance. Of the values of freedom and equality. Of despair. Of hope. Of redemption.
When they finished, the teens asked questions. Why should I stay in school? How do I stay strong? How do I avoid the trouble of the streets? What do I do when the trouble comes looking for me?
The elders answered honestly, speaking from their experience.
After two hours, the group stopped and shared dinner. One on one conversations took place in the dinner line and as they ate. The evening closed with a promise to meet again and to meet on a regular basis.
When they do, wherever they do, the ground will be holy.
See you along the Trail.