Day 27 was a real special day for me in countless ways. I left La Grange, GA early in the morning. Don Mosley and his wife drove me up to yet another community that extended their hospitality to me, I was truly grateful. This community was the Open Door Community located in Atlanta, GA. With the miles I had accumulated walking off my path all the rides I was receiving were warranted. On this day I was officially back on my path and not far behind schedule at all.
I don't know the exact time Don and his wife dropped me off at Open Door but I wasted no time. We bid our see you laters, I carried my bags inside, said a few hello's and asked which way downtown Atlanta was. I was only about 10 miles out so I decided to take the long way.
The first thing I noticed about this city I had longed to visit for so long; there were a lot of homeless people. There were homeless people everywhere I turned, even on the back streets I chose to walk.
After a couple of hours walking I reached the Martin Luther King welcome center. I immediately grew filled with a new found energy. Before long I was standing on the Civil Rights walk of Fame. At the head of the walk was a statue of Gandhi. I asked passer byes if they would mind taking a picture of me with this statue. They agreed as I told them about the walk I was doing. They were shocked. One young lady said she didn't think such actions were taken anymore. Funny the cameras quickly turned onto me. A number of people lined up wanting to take pictures with me. I handed out buttons and literature about ending the death penalty. I then walked around checking out all those the walk of fame honored.
After checking out the walk of fame I entered the Martin Luther King Museum. I even took a little break in my walking and checked out a short film on the civil rights movement. All this was empowering me. Everything was based on the freedom walk and actions taken in the struggle for civil rights. I could relate to every bit of information I was taking in. I seen it all as relevant to the Walk 4 Life and the struggle to end capital punishment as well as the struggle for prison reform. On my way out of the museum I grabbed a map so I could walk around seeing everything there was to see in Atalanta about Martin Luther King.
My next stop was King's birth home. I felt good walking up the same street this great man used to walk up on a daily. I walked all the streets Martin Luther King walked seeing I covered a large part of the city. I also stopped by Martin Luther King's tomb where Coretta Scott King's also rests where I prayed and payed homage. I was breathless this entire portion of the day. I was very grateful God chose me to take this walk. I couldn't stop praying and giving thanks. To make this event I was experiencing all the more incredible my phone rang; it was my moms just calling to see how I was doing. her timing was perfect as always.
I tried to find the words to explain to my moms what I was experiencing at the very moment she decided to call. It wasn't easy but I think the tone of my voice said it all really. My moms is special to me seeing at the lowest point of my life, buried deep within the belly of the beast she never gave up on me as so many had. She showed me what unconditional love is. She told me she was proud of me. Yea after I said my talk to you later to my moms, I was double stepping with some New York swagger to boot.
I made my way to the heart of downtown Atlanta with my End The Death Penalty sign in hand. I combed the entire city not once growing tired. I only began heading back to the Open Door Community because before I left they invited me to attend a dinner and peace protest that evening. At the point I started heading back I already walked a lot of miles, at least 35.
As I made my way back to open door I stopped to talk to a load of people, including some local drug dealers. I rapped for the brothers and talked about my walk which they supported. One brother made a small donation. I hit them all off with stickers and Anti Death Penalty buttons which they all put on their chests like badges. I don't condone these brothers chosen profession but I have to say I understand, how can I not when I was out on the streets at one time doing the same thing. I will say I had them brothers thinking when I told them I retired because I just couldn't be a part of the destruction drugs do to our communities and to our own people. I told them I chose to uplift and build our communities and people instead. Though the pay wasn't all that great, I told them the wealth I did receive was priceless. They laughed when I told them the product I slang now will still get you locked up, but the risk was better worth what I risked my freedom for in the past. Most people would have been afraid of these brothers. They would probably call the police on them before they would ever think to stop and talk to them, but let me tell you; I could see it in their eyes, saw it in their faces, they were good brothers. I would trust these brothers whole hearted before I would trust a politician; call me crazy.
The rest of my walk back to Open Door was great. I just processed everything I had experienced. It was an intense day to say the least, filled with blessings, I had even received a phone call from an angel named Mary who volunteered to help me moving my gear in the morning. It was a perfect day all around and it wasn't over yet.
I got back to the Open Door Community in time to get ready for a meeting they held outside. There were about 20 people or so sitting in a big circle. We went around the circle introducing ourselves there was people from all parts of the country. When my turn came I of course spoke on the walk. They actually asked me to spit a rhyme so I hit them off with an accapella which went over well it was great.
The topic of the discussion lead by an amazing brotha "ED The Agitator" was about a trip the group had taken earlier in the day. Of all places the group had went to the Martin Luther King museum. I had no idea, it just so happened that I had been there myself so yea I was all up in the mix. God is amazing that's all I can say on this. The discussion went on for about an hour. It was deep and it was really emotional at times. It was one of the most powerful meetings I had ever been to truthfully. It ended like ans NA or AA meeting. We stood up holding hands and said a prayer.
After the meeting everyone rushed around preparing for a peace protest that they have been doing for years. The Open Door Community sits on Ponce de Leon Ave a busy 4 lane street with a good amount of traffic. This is where the weekly protest takes place; against the war. Everyone grabbed signs, they had a huge banner two volunteers held and they also had big rainbow colored peace flags that were being waved. The instant we took to the sidewalk vars started blowing their horns in support. I ran around video taping and also took moments to hold up signs myself. It was great to be a part of this protest. As I held up my sign I thought and prayed for my brother "Sarge" a veteran who sits on Texas death row. The energy was strong out there on Ponce de Leon Ave, nothing but peace and love!
After the peace protest they had an outside dinner planned. They set up tables and chairs right out front where the meeting was held which is like I said right on Ponce de Leon Ave. This was a great way to top off an already amazing day. As we put the signs away brother ED pictured above asked if I would bless the meal before eat, I was honored. We made a big circle once again and prayed giving thanks. At the end of the prayer I jumped in the middle of the circle and said a blessings for our meal also giving thanks for all the blessings before me. Every king and queen that stood in that circle as I called my brothers and sisters to me was a blessing. I praised God and I praised Jesus with all my heart asking to bless us all and everyone. The energy level hit the clouds as we all hugged and made our way to the eats. The meal was fit for kings and queens.
My stay at Open Door was amazing. Everyone I met was filled with love and compassion. I felt welcomed from the moment I arrived when they gave me a key to the front door, to very moment I left the next day. I will never forget my stay there and I do plan on returning without a doubt.
Today I walked and talked for Paul Reid - Tennessee death row.
Today I walked and talked for Paul Reid - Tennessee death row.