Monday, October 31, 2005

Paving The Way

October 31 2005 - Paving the Way

October 31, 2005

Paving the Way – Day 16

We marched into the city of Baltimore today and ended the day at City Hall!  We completely took over the red light district streets and fittingly, marched up Gay Street to the City Hall building.  It was wonderful and the day was gorgeous.  We also marched past John Hopkins Hospital and the Maryland Correctional Facility.  It was a very powerful day.  This city is, more than any other place we’ve been, in desperate need of services and housing for those living with HIV/AIDS.  There has been no other area we have passed through where so many residents have come up to us voluntarily seeking out more information.  The city seems largely dominated by drug trafficking and it is being done openly on the streets, day or night.  It’s a very sad sight to see and the sense of solitude and despair is all around us.  I am grateful for the time here and the fact that we have a house to ourselves for 5 consecutive nights, but the truth is that this portion has impacted me the most and I find myself feeling very depressed and overwhelmed.  We have been met by hostility also and it is just a sad thing to witness.  I am grateful for the experience and for the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people, but the sense of hopelessness here is palpable and I can see how it could suck anyone in.

Andrew Ross came back today; we are so happy to see him.  Patrick Dolby, who is a member of my staff also came out today and it made me feel so proud, knowing that he made the effort to be here.  He had originally wanted to do the entire 21 days, but due to a hand injury that requires surgery, he’s only able to make this week.  I feel great knowing he’s here.

I get to sleep all by myself tonight in my own bedroom.  Val, terri, Julie, Rudy and I are at “Crack House” making sure everything stays safe while the others are staying at a church nearby.  We will have 3 more nights here.  Thursday, we will be staging a cd and hopefully, if we avoid arrest, Friday we will be marching into DC and I can’t wait!  I hope to see a lot of people there.

Thanks to everyone who have sent me emails and called me, giving me support and the confidence I need to continue on this journey.  It has been extremely difficult for me and I have been home sick from bearing witness to people, stories and events that have made me want to retreat into the safe shelter of my home and family.  The family here however, has made all bearable, as we share tears, hugs and smiles and lend each other confidence and support, in the unshakeable belief that we are doing what is right and if nothing else, we are changing each other’s lives.

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