Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This one got to me.
DeOnte' Rawlings, 14 years old, was shot and killed last week by an off-duty Washington, DC police officer, James Haskel. DeOnte' allegedly had stolen Mr. Haskel's personal minibike, and fired a gun at the officer's car when confronted. Haskel repeatedly returned fire, killing the boy. Witnesses gave a variety of contradictory reports. There is a bullet hole in Officer Haskel's vehicle, but DeOnte's alleged weapon has not been found as of yet.
To say the least, the neighborhood was upset. The officer is on leave, and DC Mayor Fenty and Police Chief Lanier are promising a thorough investigation.
This shrine, in the alley where DeOnte' was killed, is no more than fifty yards from the shrine for little Destiny Walker. Condon Terrace is a very rough place to live... or die.
After a quiet conversation about the recent sad events, I wished peace to the women whose home is next to the shrine.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Zion Destiny Walker, not yet three years old, was beaten to death last month by her mother's boyfriend. I met her uncle by the shrine. He explained the terrible facts gently, with quiet grief in his voice. We spoke of the horrible mistake, the tear in the soul, the pitiful waste, that such violence brings about.
I ran into my old friend Marcus next to the dumpster graffiti memorial for two young men. He told me in his neigborhood, about one guy a year still gets killed. Thank goodness Marcus is doing well, positive, working, and rapping with his hip-hop and go-go crew, The Committee. We had a very meaningful conversation.
The headless and choked teddy bears at the other shrine...
All three of these shrines to slaying victims are in the Anacostia section of Washington, DC.
May we all be destined to walk in a better place...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
The monument to Lil Bo, in an alley behind the Chateau nightclub in Anacostia, is three years old. A neighbor passing by informed me that his friends gather on anniversaries of his death to drink and celebrate his memory. They maintain and carefully arrange the bottles in formation, and keep the vacant lot reasonably clean and free of trash. I made a rough estimate of more than 700 bottles in this shrine, mostly pretty pricey liquors.
The shape and the purpose of the site reminded me of circular neolithic stone tombs I visited in Ireland. Dromberg, Sligo, Loughcrew. An echo of Stonehenge...
Lil Bo's girlfriend was pregnant with his child at the time of his murder.
The other site was on Adams St NE. I know nothing else. Another sad mystery. An eyeless clown on a pole.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Esther Mandelheim Elliot and her husband Pablo run Stoney Lonesome Farm, a family owned organic operation in Gainesville, VA, not far from Washington, DC.
I photographed Esther for a cover story for Lilith, a highly-regarded Jewish women's magazine.
She is originally from Russia, growing up in St. Petersburg, and later in White Plains, NY.
Great people, doing good work, growing wonderful produce. They run a friendly and capable community-supported agriculture (CSA) business, helping local folks get the best farm-fresh vegetables direct from the farm to their tables.
Check 'em out.
Their website is: http://www.slfarm.us
Lilith magazine is at: www.lilith.org