Give Us Some Hope

Give Us Our Street Back

November 17, 1991|By JOSEPH "ZASTROW" SIMMS

Well, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. In our city, we are plagued with a case of sexual misconduct. Who really cares?

We have a more important thing bothering us on Clay Street. We want ClayStreet back. The community is mad -- mad as hell. We want our streetback. That is what we care about.

Five hundred feet away from Clay Street is the office of the county executive. People are praising the administration for taking a paycut. Who cares?

Those with astronomical salaries won't be hurt. Those who make $10,000 to $15,000 will be hurt. They are concerned about the county executive and county councilors looking 500 feet and seeing a street plagued with drugs, where their workers can't walk safely to their cars parked in the county garage. We want our street back.

To the police chief, we say it is not racism and sexual misconduct that are bothering us, but that we want our street back. We want Sgt. Beans, Mr. Kelly, T.J. Harrington, Sgt. Hicks, Capt. Randall and Lt. Emory. We want our street back.

We are tired. We have a program called Healthy Teens, on the corner of Clay and West Washington streets, where we work to prevent teen abuse and teen pregnancy and parenting. We try to teach the kids another way of life, but what do we see? People overdosing, people dealing drugs right under their noses and nothing being done. We wait.

We have four black-owned businesses on Clay Street: James Queen's Barbershop, Lonnie Brown's Pool Room,Norvain Sharpes' Laundromat, and Scott's Tavern. That is a far cry from the number of black-owned businesses that need to be on Clay Street. We want our street back.

This plea comes through me from the people who want something done. We are not worried about the depression, about being fired. We are fired up, and we want our street back. We want you, the mayor, county executive and police chief to get together with the community and give us some hope.

Give us some hope that our older people who paved the way for us will be able to come outsafely. Give us some hope that our little children will have a chance of not becoming dealers and streetwalkers in the night.

James Baldwin said, "Next time the fire." This is not a threat. This is a fact. Next time the vote.

No more will a politician be able to take the black vote for granted or write us off. We want our street back sobad that we intend to get ministers, organizations, sororities and fraternities to mobilize and get out the vote. If the politicians won't make some changes and help us get our street back, then

we will make some changes in politicians.

We have overcome depression. We have overcome sexual harassment and worse. I, myself, have been so low . . . yet that is not what is on my mind. This drug situation is what is on our minds. Enough is enough. We want Clay Street back.

I must say, speaking in fairness, that (county councilwoman) Maureen Lamb has tried to work with the community organizations, and that Alderman Dean Johnson has tried to work with Norvain Sharps to rid us of the drug element.

I hope our words, "We want our street back," do not fall on deaf

ears, but that the powers that be will help us.

Detective Kelly and Officer Strickland have tried to come into the community to foster a better relationship. We know the police department has the caliber of officers to do the job. No longer do we have men with the IQs of their shirt collars, but intelligent officers, and we want them on Clay Street.

We will vote. Our reward will be thatwe will have our street back. James Brown said, "Just open the door and we will get it ourselves." Just do your part to help us, and we will do the rest.

We don't want to turn Clay Street into a ghost town. We want our street back.

Editor's note: Joseph "Zastrow" Simms, an Annapolis resident, works for the county Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.