by Pa See Vang, Creative Team Assistant, GNPI
When I first saw this photo, the guy reminded me of a boy I once knew and a place I once lived.
At eleven, I was newly exposed to a world I didn’t know. My parents moved us from a small town to a big city. We didn’t know it at the time, but the neighborhood we moved into was known for its crime. We were in an odd situation where the houses across the street from us were newly built, small, beautiful, suburban-like homes with green grass and fenced backyards. On our side of the street were old, run down duplexes. We quickly learned why so many homes had fences around them. Our car plates were stolen, and in another situation a random stranger took a baseball bat to my mother’s car, leaving shattered glass on our driveway. Soon we built a fence around our home.
By the time, we left the city I knew more about the tough life of the kids I met. They were kids who had to grow up quickly. I remember the eleven year old girl who had two miscarriages and was pregnant for the third time, believing that a baby would love her.
A boy who lived three blocks down from my house was part of a group of young boys who beat a man to death. A different boy in my class shot and killed a man and was charged as an adult. So many incidents happened in our brief two and a half years in that city.
The fences we built kept us safe, but they also created a barrier between us and the world. I have wondered about the life of the guy in this photo. I imagine maybe he has to sell items on the street for a living. I wonder what his neighborhood is like and what struggles he has to deal with. Will you pray today for neighbors on your streets?
For me, this photo is a nice reminder for me to remember to pray for others even if I do not know their story.