Thursday, December 20, 2007


Now choppers strafe the supermaket sky and people wonder why
chopping down tons of trees got seas of print not a soul can read say
Why do I drown you build brick boxes one by one now they block my sun
But it's metal on metal it's the dance of T.V.
If Christ were here he'd camera check he'd cry so loud the planes would stop
He'd cry so loud the earth would shake and men would fall in tinsel town
There's just one thing, yes there's just one thing
Who can stand in they way when there's a dollar to be made

- from the song "Who Can Stand In The Way?" by Midnight Oil

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I walked into the courtroom last night and placed the chairs in a circle. I didn't quite know what to expect. It was only my second night meeting with the Davidson County Boys' Group. And last week I didn't lead, I only observed while my director led the class. But earlier yesterday she emailed me to say that she was sick and would not be able to attend. So it was all me- leading solo.

The boys gathered in slowly, wondering where Emmy was. "She's sick tonight", I told them.

"Ahhhh, you're all by yourself tonight", they laughingly said, "you have no idea what you're doing do you?"

They were right.... I had looked over the material (Domestic Violence 101) and knew what I had to present, but I really had no idea what to expect.

Out of the 12 or so boys there, 10 of them belong to gangs, most of whom profess to be Crips. All 12 of them are there because they have been ordered by the court system to go through this group because they have been charged with some form of assault.

As we got into the session instead of leading the material straightforward I engaged them and asked them about their lives and what goes on around them. I encountered boys who feel like they have few options in life, who may be violent but encounter violence as much if not more than they use violence, and although one might look at them and think "bad kid" initially, after being in the room for 10 minutes we were laughing together and I saw boys who are all in search of something different....

I came across an article where a social worker/poet/artist uses poetry and art to help gang members express their problems, fears and hopes in life. He talks about how the urban male has not learned to express himself in this way and part of the consequence of that is that violence becomes a preferred model for dealing with life's problems. It made me think about my Davidson County Boys. It made me wonder if anyone has ever helped them tap into that creative area of our souls that every person has deep within them. It is that place that is spiritual, that expresses things with colors and and musical notes, it feels like wet clay, paint on our hands, and words that dance on pages.

I want to be that kind of person in the lives of these boys. I hope to open up to them the possibility of seeing life in a different way- that they are not who people have told them they are. They aren't even who I think they are. But they are artists who have the ability to paint or create their world to look however they want.