June 3, 2020
Dear St. Michael’s Community,
When I moved here four years ago, I literally had never been to Wilmington until interviewing for this position. Having lived in cities previously where I walked and used public transportation, renting an apartment on Market Street seemed a logical choice. I have loved it—walking to work with the dog and getting to know the folks in the neighborhood. As I have told many, people are friendly here and I have enjoyed becoming part of the community. I was at Rodney Square Saturday afternoon and, while broken-hearted that, once again, we were protesting over the evil systemic racism that continues in this country, it was hopeful and uplifting to see so many people and such a variety of people coming together and showing solidarity, using their voices to express that change must happen now and must happen deeply. What erupted two hours later took the focus away from those efforts and that is sad—but not nearly as sad as the source of the energy behind the mayhem.
I confess to feeling a bit numb, having watched the mayhem from my apartment throughout the night and then walking down Market Street the next day. Even more so, I continue to be moved by the enormity of wondering how generations of African-American parents have carried the burden of fear for their children and themselves. I catch my breath when I think of my beloved son-in-law, jogging every morning or my wonderful daughter giving birth in a couple of months. I live on the fringe of the Black experience and just what I know gives me unfathomable respect for those families of color who are hopeful and retain their dignity through all the atrocities.
Two further Market Street stories:
- When I was walking the dog the morning after, there were two ladies in front of me who were joining the clean-up crew that had been called to action. As they turned the corner by Walgreens and saw the store fronts boarded up and the glass still glistening on the street and sidewalk, one of them started to cry. “Not again, not again!” I did my history before I moved here and understand how tumultuous and painful and devastating the riots of 1968 were for this city. Not again.
- I came home to walk the dog Monday evening and was warned to do so quickly; there was fear that something else was going to happen. As we crossed by 10th and in front of several police cars and officers, I looked down Market to see a large group of men walking up the street, very quiet and very focused. As they came closer, I heard the murmur and song of prayer. They stopped and spoke with the police gathered, embracing and blessing everyone in sight. They then turned and retraced their steps, repeating their prayers and blessings. It felt as though the street truly had been cleaned. Nothing else happened that night.
We are facing such extraordinary challenges and perhaps the biggest ones are inside ourselves. We need to stay strong, look for the good in people, support those heroes who are helping others, show kindness and compassion for all, and above else, not let evil win. Please stay safe and healthy.
Lucinda Ross, M.Ed.