Reshaping the grounds
By Ariane Williams
Unsettling. Angry. Confused. Hurt. An indefinable anger started a fire in my spirit that I could not put out. I watched the same clip repeatedly of this shooting and could not understand the “why.”
For the next couple of days, I would watch videos, scroll through pictures of his life, and search for intricate details about his journey. I had “heard” of him. I never “knew” Nipsey Hussle until March 31, 2019. I felt hurt that he was a changing man. I was hurt that no one could help him at that moment. I was hurt that his children would have to grow up without a father. I was hurt that his significant other would have to pick up the pieces of her broken heart. I was hurt that his brother had to watch his brother dying in front of what he built for his community. I was hurt for his entire family. Something was shifting. I was bruised for our own neighborhoods and communities. We are not listening to our neighborhoods and communities. Listening does not always have to be a hearing thing; it can be a seeing thing.
I was so blinded by the natural that I could not tap into what was taking place in the spiritual. When we allow our physical emotions to take over, we fail to see how the movement of change can take place with just one seed. How are we truly strengthening our youth in our communities? We talk so much but fail to do. What happened to helping our neighbors? When have we taken trash bags into our neighborhoods to pick up the trash? Let us place literacy boxes not just by the library but all over the city in unexpected areas. Too many church buildings but not enough hearts that will do the hard work for the kingdom that requires dress-down. Gather all the church and community leaders and plant flowers around the city. I even see a park with monuments that represent the past and the future. The power of art is extraordinary. Paint murals on the walls where people may not expect to see them. Develop a creative arts festival where spoken word can be heard on the streets, dancing, music and more. We must live outside of the box and speak change into the atmosphere.
For those that are feeling sudden sadness, it is because you can longer hide behind the mask. Something made you realize that there is something that you are supposed to be doing in your community. Nipsey stated, “Most people want to skip the process.” If we don’t begin with a process, then we will not get an understanding of what will work and what will not work. It is time for us to take a risk and go where others are not willing to go. Let us go in with the mindset that it will change.
If we can get the community together for a dance challenge, then we can sure get everyone together to save our neighborhoods from falling. We need to renovate these empty buildings and turn them into multipurpose complexes. When I close my eyes, I see an opportunity for a better tomorrow. I see fresh markets. I see proper housing for the people in our neighborhoods and holding these landlords accountable. Every community has unique needs; you must identify the needs. Drive around and see what areas need help. Write down what you see. After you write down what you see, write down what you would like to see in its place. Develop a “Community Improvement” team.
To shape or form something differently or again is reshaping. It is time for the reshaping to begin. Some of our communities and neighborhoods are not growing. Stop waiting for other people to develop plans for your neighborhood. Reach out to other areas to see what they are doing; build those relationships. We can no longer become idle. It begins with a seed.
“A seed is a very small thing, compared to the plant and the harvest it produces.” You can keep that seed alive with those that are willing to walk in the process with you: reshaping.
Ariane Williams is a teacher, minister, published author and liturgical dancer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.