I didn’t expect last week’s column on helping the children of Parkway Gardens to be remotely controversial.
It began innocently a couple of weeks ago when Fairfield City Councilman John Mraz called to check on my health. He mentioned supporting Parkway Gardens’ Movie Night and wanting to get the Police Activities League involved, as well as finding lifeguards so they could open their pool during the summer. I spoke to Minnie Noble about writing a column to help drum up some financial support.
Hours after I hung up the phone, I was admitted to the hospital where I stayed for the next eight days.
I was so sick that for the first time in 21 years, I missed a deadline and failed to submit a column. While still in the hospital, I put together last week’s column on my iPad because it was a time-sensitive subject and I wanted to do something to help support those young kids.
Although the response has been positive, I received an email from Fairfield City Councilwoman Pam Bertani, who felt that I should’ve mentioned that she’d held several town hall meetings in the wake of the violence at Parkway Gardens and that the Neighborhood Organizing Workforce team emerged and went to work providing outreach to residents as well as establishing Movie Night.
Councilwoman Bertani said the following folks deserve a big thank you: the Rev. David Reaves (Mount Calvary Baptist Church),the Rev. John Harris (Liberty Christian Center), Larry Bluford (Operation THUGS – The Harvest Unit Gathering Souls), David Derf (Mount Calvary Baptist Church), Jeanine Morris (Liberty Christian Center), Alice Grimes (Parkway Gardens), Krista Johnson (Parkway Gardens), Cynthia Philips, Hank Lane, Dr. Frances Nelson and Glennette Florence.
Florence, a former secretary for NOW, also felt I overlooked so many who’ve been working in various neighborhoods.
As I told them, my intention wasn’t to slight anyone as my column wasn’t about accolades. While all of those hardworking, giving folks and many more deserve recognition, my goal wasn’t to slap backs but to shake consciences.
Ten years ago this year, my brothers and I went down to San Diego for our dad’s funeral. Our dad was a notorious tightwad. So imagine our surprise when a member of his church pulled us aside and told us how generous our dad was. Our dad had secretly financed Bible camp trips for teens who couldn’t afford it, gave rewards to kids who did well in school and anonymously helped numerous people.
Sometimes the least people you expect can be the most generous. It’s what I wanted to spark with the oddball pairing of John Mraz, a notorious curmudgeon, and Minnie Noble, longtime activist and head of the Tri-City National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Just this week I learned that Minnie was having lunch with Murray Bass, with the two eager to start an early literacy program for black youth. Excellent!
It’s amazing what folks can do when they set aside differences, set aside egos and come together for a cause greater than themselves.
So, can you call Minnie 685-4904 or John 580-5712 and give them a little help? The kids are what it’s all about. Peace.
Kelvin Wade is a writer/author. Reach him at [email protected]