When addressing ways we might improve the quality of life for much of society, Marianne Williams, Spiritual Teacher, Author and Motivational Speaker, during an interview, talked about the need for each of us to live in ways that contribute to the healthy functioning of the whole. She, like so many others, acknowledges the bad will we so often exact upon one another, but she spends much more time examining the positive, noting aloud what might/will work vis-à-vis correcting and healing ourselves, our communities, our world.
To be sure, there are bad things happening all around us; and there are indeed people behaving badly—usually out of a deep-seated fear. But there are good things going on as well; and there are people acting on their goodness. For instance, Ward 8 is no stranger to the benevolence of a host of benefactors, many of them the Ward’s own residents and/or its native sons and daughters who have left their childhood neighborhoods, but come home often to share their experiences, prosperity and compassion.
These are the stories often untold. And with so much ado about all that’s wrong and painful in the city, and most specifically in Ward 8, it’s no wonder that it’s more often than not, hard to hear, see or embrace the acts of human kindness and moments of deep and sacred caring shared between the Ward’s residents and its neighbors. This is interesting because there are so many occasions that reflect these kinds of loving considerations. Recent examples would include a Thursday afternoon Little League soccer game between Ward 8’s Moten Elementary and Ward 7’s Burrville Elementary at which the American Beverage Association (ABA) and the DC Beverage Association made a $50,000.00 donation to DC Scores so that that organization could expand its program to more Ward 8 schools.
Curtis Etherly, a Ballou High School graduate and current Executive with Coca Cola, and Ellen Valentino, with the ABA, were instrumental in bringing the donation to fruition. Neither is unfamiliar with Ward 8 and many of its needs and both are committed to helping wherever possible as the Ward seeks to find and further define itself in the context of the shifting sands and winds of the city.
Another and more recent illustration of so many people of Ward 8 rising to meet the challenge of contributing to the healthy functioning of the whole is easily found in the work of the Inspired By God Ministries (IBG)—an organization led by Pastor R. Joyce Scott, who to quote her, is “a Southeast girl, born and raised.” IBG celebrated its second anniversary on Sunday, October 16; and while the event was extravagant and the food was lavish, what probably stood out more to the average onlooker, who, try as s/he might to avoid it, were the love, fellowship and camaraderie of the Ministries’ participants and supporters.
These are just two examples among innumerable others, and in a field of infinitely more possibilities with respect to what we can do if/when we focus on helping and nurturing the/our whole. It’s undoubtedly safe to conclude that the good that we express toward one another rarely seems to rise to the level of being as newsworthy as those stories in which there is a greedy, power-struck political or corporate villain, a murderer or a drug dealer. We might also surmise that if more attention were given to the positive, more positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors would emerge from even the most negative and destructive personalities.
Until that time, we must remember that the fact is that just as “a rose by any other name is still a rose,” and just as one can not make a lie the truth, there are good people who will do good work in an effort to ensure that Ward 8 and the entire DC community functions at the highest level possible—no matter what negative stories manage to land on the pages of media outlets, or fill the air ways.
Put another way, and to borrow a phrase from the Queen of Soul, “a rose is still a rose” and Ward 8 you are still a flower.