Together


-by Sarai Exil
“My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together.”  ~ President Barack Obama
Together
I finally understand why children have tattoos.
Tears are filling the hallway as mighty young men drip water from the corner of their eyes. Hoods on, red eyes, and shaking hands are the sights that tear my heart apart. The air is stagnant, or unchanging, throughout first block as students finally have the ability to mourn with others who understand, have seen his face and heard his laugh. The walls are now covered with “RIP.” A student signed a poster, “I was there. I didn’t know what to do. I’m in 7th grade. What am I supposed to do?” Pictures of his smiling face with braided hair start to appear on lockers, shirts, and hats. His name tattooed across forearms, shoulders and backs …
I finally understand why children have tattoos.
Never again do I wish to see little boys grieving. It’s much too painful when they are all in your heart, but I now realize that I am not the only one who has a special place for these students. I’m not the only one who wept. I’m not the only one who got angry at the world. I’m not the only one who sat with disbelief in the gymnasium waiting to get out of a lockdown.  I’m not the only who is ready for change. I share this passion for the community of Linden with the teachers of Linden, the students, the parents, the gang members, the cheerleaders, the bowling team, the church members, the students of OSU, the alumni of City Year, and the residents. I share it closely with my team (Panthers Forever): Monika, Hope, Bob, Anna, Yan, Brit, Ashley, Amy, Juan, Fevean, and Bobby. Due to this integration of love, this relentless soul-tapper, I know we were all brought together for this moment, and we can seize it, “—as long as we seize it together” with a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.
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