There was a remarkable performance recently. I stumbled upon it strolling an Airport District sidewalk in close proximity to a recent Norteno on Sureno gang hit.
The synergy of various people that I would encounter still glistened from the shudders of a tragic event so close to home. An apocalyptic moment for many of us. So slow is the recovery from too much realization. Too much reality. Too much recognition of our own mortality and vulnerability.
But this particular individual was a visitor to our neighborhood. A person, whom which when I look upon, beams a beacon that spans across my brain’s processing of name and face recognition.
Healthy start – even the very name itself seems to propose what is the best start to everyday?
To one’s life?
A healthy start.
He’s moved up a level now and applies his previous life’s hardships to winning back the lives of youth. Youth once destined for prison and death are now becoming our doctor’s teachers and other benefactors that contribute to our eventual American Utopia. A Utopia we shall proudly call the United States of America.
“Hey, what are you doing right now”, asked the dynamic spiritual leader, Jorge Perez.
I ended up sitting amongst my clients, neighbors and friends listening to Jorge Perez present to us a single solution emoted through the excitement of hope and understanding that only love and compassion of an entire community could bring about.
Very first to grace the stage was the principle of Orville Wright, Heather Shereurn.
She touched on the tragedy of the recent homicide. A touch was all that was needed with her open and straight forward acknowledgement. When no punches are pulled, we knew that she saw what we saw.
And her melodic and eloquent presentation of our solution was presented just as plainspoken. The family and school relationship was poured within us as the foundation of our very future’s concrete security.
Harnessing the ever more cohesive relationship that our community shares a common mission. A mission from God for ourselves individually, as well as for the community as a single, unified whole.
Everyone was armed with a radio and headset for the purpose of receiving transmissions in espanol.
So when Jorge Perez introduced Arturo Flores, The Superintenden of Modesto City Schools – there was no more need for Ingles.
Soft spoken, our chosen one spoke to our hearts as though each one of us were speaking with a warm and trusted family member.
He talked of poverty, the fields, the path of Mexicanos and Chicanos. The sacrificial alters of success that we all must place and practice upon with our very own beating hearts – together.
As Mr. Arturo Flores spoke, plumes of understanding began to grip us as he applied the solution, once again – the importance of an education.
A holy grail that can only be achieved through the dedication of community. He understood through us that there had been a very special import from Mexico with the Airport District’s recent migratory wave.
The values and practices of pueblos and ciudads in Mexico had arrived to us intact and in excellent condition.
Through forced isolation, like fertilizer for roses, these cultural values of family and unity blossomed into beauty rivaled by the most splendid flora anywhere in the world.
Leaving us with the lasting conviction and the very crux of who we are “Si Se Puede.”
And then there appeared from out of nowhere, John Ervin.
Previously out of reach, untouchable and arms length, to no one other than myself, for me it was another assumptive instantaneous recognition trap dating my musical interests and complex comparisons in not so distant memory without him – a time long before, which absolutely no one would ever be able to make the association without combining the spelling out of three magical letters with an attitude that would say, yes, I am Greatfully Dea-DICA-ted.
“Nothin’ left to do, but smile, smile, smile."
Not today though. When John Ervin began to speak, the music stopped playing in my mind.
There was us and there was John Ervin. Once again we set our gaze on another soldier that understood us. We gazed upon one of us as John Ervin displayed his passion as though we were witnessing the private and super spectacular performance of a Japanese Fan dancer.
It was the epitome of the entire performance. So much so that others that spoke will now have no mention from me.
If you ever have the good fortune of meeting Mr. John Ervin face to face and you want to enjoy the illustrious smile of his – just tell him that he can never lose what he never had. Those are the magical words John Ervin blessed us with in his presentation of the solution. The guarantee and assurance of our success.
That every single child in Airport District graduates.
That every single child in Airport District considers college.
That we as a community can make this our goal and what’s more – meet that goal.
We’re on the right track. It’s all good.
Thank you all for believing in us.
Copyright 2009 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.