This year brings many changes for Paperbagladies. The representation and concerns of everyday street life as I have come to know it through my clients and their children is a constant discussion in various circles.
I am pleased to serve on the City of Rochester Police Department’s Do the Right Thing Board of Directors. We solicit applications from inner-city schools, K-12 grades that highlight exemplary behavior and deeds by students that have in some cases saved others lives through drawing attention to a medical emergency at home, school or church. Sometimes through the eyes of children and the examples that they set, parents and caregivers can see several things that include the job they have done, or the encouragement they need to keep parenting and care giving which in these tough social and economic times, may prove to be challenging.
This month I am honored to have been chosen to take a 10 week Citizen Police Academy Training at the Monroe County Training Center on Scottsvillle Road. We are learning about recruiting, hiring and retention processes within the Rochester Police Department. I will learn, gain and expand my conflict resolution skills as most calls and issues I directly deal with are domestic disputes and domestic violence issues. We will be trained in firearms, procedures and given examples of relative tactical and strategic activities that will serve as a primer for why certain things are done at a traffic stop or why in investigation and questioning a particular strategy is determined and then used.
I am also pleased and honored to have joined Dr, John Klofus at Rochester Institute of Technology as he oversees the Center for Public Safety Initiatives. I am very impressed with the research the center and its students are doing about relevant matters within the Rochester area.
The police department invited me to do a ride along this month, which will help me and the department continue to have excellent communication regarding everyone’s perspective on what is going on out in the streets, particularly Lyell Avenue, better known as “The Stroll”, which is the gateway to commercial sex work here in Rochester.
Finally, Frank Forgione. He passed away September 30th 2011. He was my colleague and especially my friend. For years we worked side-by-side at Grace urban Ministries, Mary Magdalene Center. He tirelessly cooked meals, handed out Kleenex; let strangers cry on his shoulder, he literally held frightened children in his hands. He was nurturing and kind. A gentle bear when necessary and a ferocious lion when he had to advocate for someone. He was a man who enjoyed simplicity, but was not a simple man. I will miss him terribly, as he knew all of my secrets and was a wonderful mentor to me. He would wait at the center and hold the fort down as they say while I ran around the streets trying to fix the world’s problems. And needless to say, when I saw I could fix very little, if anything at all he would be waiting with a cup of tea, a Kleenex and an open heart and listen to the frustrations I faced that day, listening to hunger, lack of medicine for AIDS and aids related illnesses. Listening to beaten women and frail children who were tired and apathetic. Countless children that had no gloves, frank would send me out with more of them for little fingers.