It's been a day of worry, even though things are looking pretty good right now for Saturday.
Jay-Z's aunt caught me on the street this morning. She was crying. The guy with the gun on Sunday thinks she's the one who called the police, so he and some of his buddies have been walking by her house and harassing her.
"I ain't scared," she insisted, but she's certainly upset. She was telling me they said really stupid stuff to her like if her daughter was on the sidewalk and got shot by someone the police would come after her.
Hello, the point is that sidewalks are supposed to be safe for children to play on, dodo!
She wants to know how to get this meathead off the block. I thought we'd have to find out who the landlord is and see if the guy is really a tenant. Unfortunately, I found out tonight that a guy here who knows a lot about buildings and landlords in the area doesn't actually know this particular landlord. I'll have to see if Officer Friendly knows.
I spend all day today feeling really nervous and not knowing whether it was over this stuff or just over the more mundane trouble of trying to get portable hoops. My first connection on hoops has fallen through, but this afternoon a second lead said they would let us use theirs (they have two sets, so it's easier for them to loan out one). I feel much more relaxed now, and a bit sheepish to realize just how much of the worry was over the idea that we couldn't do basketball. Well, actually, I'm kind of relying on the basketball as part of the security strategy (organized activity prevents fights and other problems among kids), so if we weren't having basketball for two hours I'd be worried about other trouble.
And, hey, thanks 49th Neighbor, for helping us find someone to coach the soccer tournament!
Jay-Z's aunt was talking about how much nicer this block is now than it used to be. Actually, I've been in quite a few conversations on this topic in the last few days. It's because that niceness and sense of security is being threatened. Jay-Z's aunt and another lady were talking about all the shooting and killing that went on here years ago.
You may well be thinking there's been plenty of shooting just up the street, which is true. But we haven't seen a fourth-grader's brains spilled on the pavement since I moved here. Apparently that really did happen recently enough that some people here now remember it.
The other thing I haven't wanted to do is go around to every house hitting them up for potluck contributions and the DJ fund. Last night I really did not feel like it at all--I went to maybe 10 of our houses, just where people were outside or I knew them really well.
Tonight I was just on the street talking with two other people, and between them they kicked in $50.
Sarah and one of the Bradys helped me with the Spanish for our flyers. I designed the flyers and emailed them to myself, so tomorrow I can go print them out and copy them.
It's so interesting to see more and more of the ways different people are working to make the block better, even if they don't interact directly with each other all the time in the process. The guy who knows buildings was saying he's been talking to some landlords about toughening up on the tenants and their guests about loitering. He appreciated seeing all the "We Call Police" signs that Jay-Z's aunt passed around while she was doing block party petitions. He's also been talking to Officer Friendly. I let him know I had contacted the commander about having a squad car here during the block party on Saturday.
And Jay-Z's aunt came through with the rest of the crayons for the school supply bags! Sarah helped me put them in all the bags. Now if we just have enough bags for every kids in grades 1-8 who lives on the block, I'll be really happy. I'm not sure if 60 is enough. We have lots of leftover giveaway items, but we ran out of notebooks and folders for the bags, so we just did 60 and we'll see how that goes.