Busta’s Event of the Week: ‘One day, every day will be like this’

Busta’s Event of the Week: ‘One day, every day will be like this’
September 02
13:14 2020

By Busta Brown

You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, this past Saturday I visited three of those villages and it was all love, peace and togetherness. 

Winston-Salem community leaders organized a Peace Walk in the parking lot of Salem Gardens and Cole Village apartments. I joined them going door to door, talking to residents about the growing violence in their communities. We also made sure everyone 18 and over was registered to vote and if not, we had plenty of registration applications and absentee ballot request forms. 

The residents of Salem Gardens were served some of the best grilled burgers and hot dogs in North Carolina, compliments of Chef James Taylor. Yes, the Winston-Salem City Councilman has mad culinary skills as well. When I turned on Terry Road, I could immediately smell the aroma of that good ole picnic cooking, the aroma you smell at a family reunion, when your uncle is throwing down. And Taylor threw down! 

The residents wanted to be heard, so we came to listen and also fellowship. “No more crime and gun violence in our communities and we’re standing together to make that happen. I’m here to make sure whatever their needs are gets done,” said Taylor as he was flipping burgers and turning over hotdogs. 

What I love most about the city councilman is his wife and children are always by his side. He and his wife Deanna are doing an excellent job training their children to be civic minded and future leaders themselves. 

The vibe of love and positivity were on 100! I didn’t see or meet anyone with the spirit of hate or violence. As I looked around at the residents in Salem Gardens, I could hear the O’Jay’s classic “Family Reunion” playing in my head. On Saturday, Aug. 29, you could see the children felt safe as they laughed, played, ate and danced together. DJ Tony played all of the classic songs we hear at a wedding reception and family reunions. Salem Gardens was covered with an atmosphere of love and peace. All of the adults greeted each other with a smile and warm embrace. It was a delightful sight to see. 

“It’s good to see our politicians and pastor here today. We need more days and events like this, and afterschool programs for our kids. I think that would make a big difference,” said a mother of three. Her babies were running in the grass playing tag and I could hear their cute little voices giggling. In their minds, it was a wonderful world. Anyone that lives or visited the community could see the same thing. 

I didn’t want to be the one to kill the vibe of the day, but when I met Salem Gardens’ property manager Deitrich Hancock, I had one question on my mind. We went to an area to speak privately. I asked Hancock, “How is it possible that there’s so much violence in a neighborhood with so many beautiful and loving families?” 

“Busta, I’m thankful for my residents. We have a lot of good residents here and they’re not the problem. I love working here and I love my people. They’re my family. The trouble comes from non-residents, and when the police arrive, they scatter. But when I do get the opportunity, I do talk to them,” he replied. 

I asked Hancock, what are some of the young men’s frustrations? “A lot of them can’t get jobs because they have records. So that’s why a lot of them are on the streets hustling. It’s a Catch-22 for some of the guys, because they got kids. They have to find a way to make some money to pay child support or they’re going to jail,” the property manager explained. 

I stood there stunned, but not because I was surprised. I grew up in the late 60s, 70s and 80s and that was the same issue for my brothers, our friends and myself. I was stunned because the system hasn’t changed or grown. In America, Black men are still denied an equal opportunity. So, the protests continue because the frustrations continue. 

One mother said, “I have a daughter that I have to physically fight sometimes and when I call the police, they can’t do anything because she’s a minor. We need support systems or programs for mothers like myself, because no mother wants to be the one to hurt their own kids, or get hurt. Some days I want to see her in jail, and so she can learn the hard way. But I can’t do it; she’s my baby. This is tough Busta,” she said while crying. 

If you or someone you know is in this situation, call your local Children’s Home. They can help or lead you in the right direction. 

I spoke with community organizer Arleatha Patterson, who has worked in the Salem Gardens community for two years. “It’s good that the residents are being heard today, and we need to do this more often. They need more access to opportunities, because a lot of times it’s barriers that affect economic mobility. Like computers to create resumes, affordable childcare because we don’t have enough childcare here in Forsyth County. Accessible transportation and education. And criminal background checks can be a barrier as well,” she said. 

Miracle Temple Deliverance Church is Salem Gardens’ next-door neighbor and their Pastor Michelo Glover came out to show his support. “We must empower residents here, because they are better than what society say they are. These are good people! We were planted in this community two years ago to help them achieve the opportunity for higher education, explore different boundaries beyond their neighborhood, and to do better, because they are better than this. We come from royalty, kings and queens,” he said. 

I asked the pastor to be transparent about how so many people are losing hope and faith in the church and God. “Yes! That’s why God is putting younger ministers in place to bridge the gap between the old and new generation. It’s time to break tradition and get back to doing what God wants us to do, and that’s the facts and root of the gospel. We must come to our people and tell them that we all have a past that we would to love forget. But we don’t have to stay in our past. The church is a hospital for everybody to get healed and that’s why we’re here,” said Pastor Glover. The brotha was passionate about change. 

As I was standing in line to get one of Councilman James Taylor’s famous hotdogs and before going to visit another community, I could feel a healing coming. I took a look around and I saw one of the most beautiful and blessed days of my life. Even more children had arrived, and they all played together in the grass, and even in the streets. Their cute giggling voices sounded like little angels. The residents of Salem Gardens truly enjoyed themselves. The parents and the local leaders were singing and dancing in the streets as well. 

To all of the community organizers, leaders, pastors, business owners and politicians in Winston-Salem, thank you for your daily sacrifice to restore hope, faith and family in our beautiful communities. We don’t always agree on how to get it done, but we do agree on what needs to get done. Our work is not in vain. 

On this day, life was exactly the way it’s supposed to be in our Black communities. I believe that one day, every day will be like this past Saturday. Together, we will be victorious! 

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