I'm Proud to Call Her Friend

A few years ago, I met a woman who would absolutely change my life. We are soulmates and friends - the first time we met, I knew she was a healer. The second time we saw each other, we found out we both have the same type of tattoo on the back of our necks - an om. Mine is sanskrit, hers is Tibetan.

The third time we saw each other was at an unschooling conference, and we practically sat in each others' laps, we wanted to be so close to each other. We've been that close to each other ever since, even though she moved to WV two years ago. We have shared many lifetimes; she is a sister in the best sense of the word.

Last night, she told me about an initiative she started in the town she moved to, Huntington, WV. It is simple enough - distributing fliers about how to make a community, a community. That small action has spurred greater actions and talk from others. Just by being herself, shining her light in a way that she could as a college student, wife, mother and healer, she put in to motion great things for Huntington. And other places, as well! She's gotten a few calls from people in other areas of the country who want to pass out fliers, too.

I googled "Hope for Huntington" this morning, and found this article. What a lady.

Chris Harris/The Herald-Dispatch

Woman doing her part to improve her neighborhood


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- When the Huntington Police Department raided a residence for heroin in Jenn Williams' Southside neighborhood a year ago, she was frightened like many of her neighbors.

She wondered whether the neighborhood in the 700 block of 11th Avenue she had just moved to the year before was safe for her two children.

"After the fear wore off, I felt ashamed that I didn't know that kind of activity was going on in my neighborhood and that I didn't know my neighbors well enough," she said. "I began to realize that residents can't sit around idly and expect law enforcement or local government to take care of everything for us."

Williams' solution was a simple one. She decided to make "Hope for Huntington" fliers and pass them out to her neighbors and people at community meetings. She already has distributed a few hundred since she began her effort a few weeks ago, she said.

"I wanted to create something physical that would represent a commitment to be a good neighbor," she said. "It's a statement that this is what you stand for and this is what you believe in."

When she's not taking graduate courses in counseling at Marshall University, Williams goes door to door asking residents to tape the pink fliers to their front door. The fliers say that by doing so, you pledge to take care of your property, get acquainted with your neighbors and exchange phone numbers with them and make a call or write a letter to your City Council representative about your concerns at least once a year.

Williams said she also wants the fliers to serve as a sign for parents that it is safe for their kids to trick-or-treat at the home.

Most people have responded favorably to the fliers, but some tell her there isn't any kind of community effort that can help Huntington, Williams said.

"The most negative response I get is that this place is hell and it will never get better, but I should be applauded for trying," she said. "There is a sense of negativity where a lot of people who grew up here have no hope for Huntington. But I see it as a town that has so much potential for being really progressive."

Williams will continue passing out fliers through the end of October. She said she will then turn her attention to organizing events in her neighborhood such as block parties and community gardens.


Madge said...

what a wonderful woman and wonderful friend!

David said...

I can't help but recall the Monty Python sketch...

Son: Hello, mum, hello, dad.

Man: Hello, son.

Son: There's a dead bishop on the landing.

Woman: Where did that come from?

Son: What do you mean?

Woman: What's its diocese?

Son: Well it looked a bit Bath and Wellsish to me.

Man: I'll go and have a look. (goes out)

Woman: I don't know who keeps bringing them in here.

Son: Well it's not me.

Woman: I've put three out by the bin and the dustmen won't touch 'em.

Man: (coming back) Leicester.

Woman: How do you know?

Man: Tattooed on the back of his neck. I'm going to call the police.

Woman: Shouldn't you call the Church?

Son: Call the Church police.

Man: ,.. all fight. (shouts) The Church police!

(Enter two policemen with ecclesiastical accoutrements.)

Peace n' stuff,