Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Paving The Way

Housing Works Family

Housing Works Family,

I have been on this journey for 4 days and this is my first opportunity to share what this journey has been like for me.  On Saturday, 10/17/05 I knew that when the sky opened the good Lord was giving his blessing to this biblical journal.  All of the hard work and months of arduous and painstaking planning finally came to fruition.  I won’t kid you…my stomach was in knots as it always is when an event that Housing Works folks have been calling “historic” for months had finally arrived.  Nilsa, my girlfriend whom I love dearly, joined me on the first day of our journey and assured me that morning over and over again that all the hard work would pay off! She was absolutely right on!

The walk through the Lincoln Tunnel was awesome.  I was running back and forth like a manic!  I felt nothing but adrenaline surging through my veins.  Red Bull could never give me what I felt that day.  My energy came from the throng of 500 strong walking through that Tunnel, hearing the collective voices, and feeling the strength of our collective spirits.  Derrick Chandler my compadre and I led the procession through the Tunnel ahead of the police and the marchers and we knew when we saw the light at the end of the Tunnel that this was going to be the journey of a lifetime.

The route along the adjoining towns of New Jersey (Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City) was inspirational.  Everywhere we walked on street corners, in business establishments, private homes and folks driving in there cars were totally supportive.  Urging us on to continue the journey, most if not all of the folks I met wished us success and implored us to “stick it to the man” when we get to Washington.  By the end of the day I was exhausted from running what felt like a mini marathon.  

The day was not without its hitches.  I was in charge of our vehicles and as you all know we have 5 on this trip and it ain’t no joke managing a monster RV, a 22 passenger min-bus, a truck, and 2 passenger vans.  Unfortunately, my RV driver got lost and I ended up chasing that monster down and getting it back on track in time to meet up with the caravan in Jersey City.  Hey as the old adage says “shit happens”.  

Arriving in Jersey City felt like arriving in El Barrio because the minute we entered it I spotted La Conguita a latino restaurant that later in the day a bunch of us went to check out to eat.  Highly recommend it not only for its authentic Cuban cuisine but the prices could not be beat.  Although if you’re a fan of Fidel this is definitely not your place!

The day ended with a rally in front of Jersey City Hall and unfortunately I was not able to sleep overnight.  It was a day filled with so many wonderful memories that I will be talking about with my grandkids for years to come.  We have a bunch of truly dedicated champions participating in this journey and in my heart if hearts I know this is going to be the journey of a lifetime.

Sincerely yours,
Jose Cruz



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