For several weeks we've been engaged in voter registration and voter education in the community. Civic engagement, like voting, is a sign of civic health. We've deputized residents to register their neighbors to vote and along with them, some of our staff who have also been deputized to register people to vote, have gone throughout Roseland, registering our neighbors for the November elections.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate hearing of the effort, came by to meet, spend time with, answer and ask questions of between 60-70 of the people who live in the community. While there, even more people were registered to vote.
Of course 60-70 people aren't a lot of people and candidates for statewide office don't normally stop in communities like Roseland, let alone spend more than an hour to campaign among low income voters. Communities like Roseland aren't necessarily 'high yield' in terms of the return on investment of time. But the respect given residents by the former Houston mayor, spoke volumes to the people who turned out on that day! The fact that he didn't come by to just make a speech, but to ask questions, to challenge and be challenged by them, to listen to the concerns of forgotten people and to treat them like citizens was something to behold!
The following week, Grammy Award winning contemporary gospel artist (and Central Dallas Ministries' featured performer for our annual 'A Night to Remember' Concert), Kirk Franklin came by Roseland to meet the staff, residents and friends of CDM.
Kirk was supposed to be with us for about 40-45 minutes, but he stayed around, talking to people, hugging babies, chatting it up with senior citizens, visiting program areas and meeting the kids in Roseland's Head Start program.
In all, he stayed nearly 2 hours!
It was amazing shot in the arm for staff, for old and young alike, for Franklin to come by, identify with and affirm CDM staff and Roseland residents alike. Again, a recognition of humanity that so many of us take for granted, but one which means so much to those who are usually forgotten or whose hard work tends to go unheralded.
Both investments of time and attention. Both interactions the sort of which inspire and change lives in ways the rest of us only come to know decades later. Both generous gestures of the spiritual kind that left people feeling as if they had been honored respected.
Yes, it's been quite a week...again!