Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Today was one of those rare times when I engaged in a matter of policy.

Some of you may have heard of the DREAM Act. One of the kids I work with recently sent me a text asking me to speak on his behalf on this issue. This Act provides opportunity for the children of undocumented immigrants to become contributing citizens of America, but asks that they work to earn it.

After doing more reading on the issue, I was convinced that this Act could change the course of the lives of several of the young people we work with. It would also be a way to bring the Biblical values of loving my neighbor and showing kindness to aliens to life on a massive scale.

I would encourage anyone who reads this and feels like the DREAM Act is a good idea to contact their local decision makers in support of it. I wrote a message and sent it out to Georgia senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another What? (Hooking pt 1)

They are not our problem when we roll through in a car or see them through a window, but when we weave ourselves into the narrative fabric of the neighborhood, every subplot matters:

Jarret and I see her as we turn onto Plaster Road from Buford Highway. White, worn-looking. Her age is in question because her profession tends to exaggerate the years. A few absent teeth, streaks of white amid otherwise blonde hair.

- I don't know why they're here all of a sudden. I don't remember any hookers when we first moved here, I tell him.

- Or when I moved in, Jarrett replies.

She walks in the flash of our headlights, looks over her shoulder as if she knows she is being discussed, and keeps moving.

- I don't get the appeal, I say.

Jarret nods.

- Desperate times, I suppose.

We get to Jarrett's place, an apartment in our same complex, and he grabs a change of clothes before we head back out. Back in the parking lot, he says to me, There goes another one.

I look around to see what he's talking about and meet the eyes of a brown-haired, heavyset fortysomething white woman in loose-fitting jeans and a pullover rushing by.

- ANOTHER WHAT? she growls, and keeps walking.

It seems like there are more of them here every day, moving out across the neighborhood, looking cheap and tired, catering to probably the last market available to them in Atlanta.

They are not the ones we came here to reach, nor are they friendly to our purposes here, but here they are nonetheless, right in plain sight for management and the police and every lonely Latino laborer to see.

We have chosen for the story of the neighborhood to be our story as well. So when they move in and peddle their wares, they become players in a redemptive arc that has already been told somewhere, but remains obscure to us here, now. We are characters ourselves in this tale, and are neccessarily blind until the curtain closes.