It seems so ordinary, in extraordinary times, to think about the apartment I grew up in. It was in the Bronx, in a zip code that is now about 77% non-white. This zip code has one of the highest rates of positive COVID-19 tests in New York City.
The apartment was in a public housing project.
thinking about that a lot recently, wondering how many deaths the
housing project I grew up in has suffered, and the other suffering its
residents must face on a daily basis. I did a quick internet search and came up with an article a few weeks old in a New York City newspaper about COVID-19 deaths suffered by employees of the New York City Housing Authority.
It was accompanied by a picture.
A picture of the housing project I lived in for 21 years.
Now, I am 150 miles away, living in upstate New York. And no, I do not know what the residents of my former neighborhood feel or think. Their experience is not my experience. Even when I grew up there, it wasn't.
Then, there are the events of last week, which have touched many, many cities and towns and villages all over the United States as frustration has boiled over into rage. But bad actors have mixed in and are trying to take advantage of the outrage to do what they do best - destroy and attempt to terrorize. As this is not a political blog, I will, instead, talk about an incident a few miles from where I live.
Sunday night in Binghamton, New York, where my employer is located, there was a peaceful protest in a city park called Rec (Recreation) Park. Mere hours after the protest ended, people unknown (at the time of me writing this post) torched its playground and destroyed it.
The playground was built in 2016 by volunteer labor, and was the largest all inclusive playground in New York State. Our community was so proud of it. Families of all colors used it. It was across the street from an elementary school.
This is what it looked like.
The police stress that they don't believe the fire was set by protestors. But the biggest losers are the children. Playgrounds have been closed here by COVID-19. When they can finally reopen, the children here would have lost still more.
The community has vowed the playground will be rebuilt.
It will be a small part of rebuilding our country.