Due to technical difficulties that are beyond my control I could not finish the blog I was preparing this afternoon. The reason is that I am at a place that has the computer figured so I can not access the draft that I was preparing. In order for me to finish, my readers would have to read the last part first and the first part last. That would not bode too well. It would not be professional. Of course that is assuming I have alot of readers. I
do not. However, hopefully, I will build up a following of readers as time goes on.
The article on which I was working was about my visit to the Central Division of the Los Angeles Police Department this morning. It will be posted tomorrow. It just did not make sense to do a shabby job when talking about them and the people that talked about them to me after my visit.
The above picture, by the way, is just a shot of downtown Los Angeles people enjoying a night out on a patio last week. I liked the lights in the background.
Preview Quote of the LAPD article
Rober Jackson, resident of Transition House- "You would be surprised how many people support the LAPD in their efforts to clean up the streets and rid them of drug dealers. I want you to quote me. Once I owed some drug dealers some money. They were going to hurt me. I called the LAPD and told them. I asked them to pick me up and drop me off at a bus stop. they did. It was a couple of blocks from here. I did not lie to them. I told them I used crack and I was in debt to a dealer. They did not sweat me about the crack. They saved my life that night.
Tell everyone that. I am proud of you, Walter. Make sure you say that also."
That is only one quote of several that I heard yesterday. Obviously, now, I am talking about my experience instead of reporting.
I was not surprised at the comments that people made that will be seen tomorrow. I was surprised that they wanted their names to be linked to the quotes. They did not want to be quoted anonymously. They wanted everyone to know their names. They did not want to hide behind anonymity. They were excited about the prospect of having a Skid Row community Chat Room where they could discuss a variety of issues with anyone that came into it. I told them that at least a couple of officers said they would be glad to visit it and engage in healthy discussion about the area with the people who live and work in it. They, the officers, welcome the exchange.
I was most taken aback by the residents when they looked at me and talked about how proud they were of me. I was a little embarrassed. They mentioned how they saw me study several books on journalism and they saw me endlessly write for months. They know my background in real estate, marketing and the internet. They also know I have developed a passion for reporting, photojournalism and video reporting;news packaging, if you will.
They saw me struggle with my personal circumstances for months. They saw me pick up cans for money. They were at my side when I was offered jobs only to have the offers taken away because of a background check. They have seen others relapse and congradulate me for staying strong. They keep telling me not to worry. They say that I deserve something really good. They keep telling me how well I am doing. It suddenly hit me this morning that perhaps I am doing well in that I am not crumbling. I feel like I am barely standing however.
This morning a lady counselor, who will be quoted tomorrow, told me that I am leading by example. It is hard to believe that people believe that. While typing the article before I had to get off of the computer, a woman who has been a resident where I used to live for a long time told me she was proud of me for going to speak to the officers. Several did. They felt that it took alot of guts. They felt I must care alot about everyone connected with Skid Row to spend the time to do what I did.
It feels good to be respected and it feels good to be worried about. It feels good to know that people care and tomorrow I want it posted on my blog my article about this morning. It will show the officers that people care about them as well.
Everyone tells me to hang on. They believe that I will get a good job. They tell me not to worry about the past. Some even believe I will return to real estate or report in a big way or write a a book. They feel that I can do anything that I want to do. It seems that they are pushing me to believe it.
Why they care about me, I do not know. I only know that when I walk down the streets, tears come to my eyes when I think about it. They came to my eyes when the officers waved to me this morning. They came when a resident at the Midnight Mission told me to keep writing, to keep talking about the area. "It is coming Walter. It may be in real estate. It may be in the internet in marketing or ad sales. It may be in sports. It may be in reporting. Just keep doing what you are doing and you will make it. You will make it for all of us. Don't give up. "
I wanted to save this until tomorrow but I could not wait. Officer Royce invited me to have Thanksgiving Dinner with him and his wife. I damn near burst out crying. He knows not how much that meant to me. Thank you. He cares alot about his officers. He cares alot about the people of Skid Row. The judge wanted me to write for him, on Thanksgiving Day, what being sober meant to me. It means alot to me. I am not allowed to be with my nuclear family. However, people see alot in me. They tell me I am changing everyday. Being clean has given me that. It has given me the chance to grow again and the chance for others to see what I am made of. It is letting me experience again what I am made of. Acts of kindness and confidence go a long way. They carry me through the night. They carry me through the day. Judge,
that is what being clean does for me. It has let me earn the right to have people have confidence in me. It lets me build, again, the confidence in myself.
I hope, that through my efforts, that people in Skid Row, grow to have confidence in everyone that is involved with it. I hope that the barriers that hinder discussion are removed. I hope that I can be a catalus for togetherness and progress.
Thank you every one. I must go. Please read the article about my talk at the Central Division tomorrow. The computer lab is about to close.
Good night world. I love ya.