It's Saturday November 13th, 2010. I just got back from spending time in Monroe Park, observing activities, talking to people, participating with other members of my community, trying to figure out just why Monroe Park has been labeled as a dangerous place. I talked to members from Mount Olive Baptist Church, I talked to apparently homeless people, people playing chess, others waiting with their luggage to be picked to go to shelters, and members of The RVA Hoop Lovers. The RVA Hoop Lovers came out to show their support for Monroe Park, wanting to show people that they (mostly females) are not afraid to use the park. They are planning a family board game day, with a tentative time set at 2:30pm Sunday November 21st. I saw the community enjoying each others company, I saw people smiling and having a good time. I didn't see anyone openly drinking, anyone laying face down on the ground. I didn't see anyone causing trouble with anyone else. I won't claim that this never happens, but it isn't the norm.
I talked to members of Mount Olive Baptist Church that came out to see what they could possibly do to help the community in the midst of the City trying to use renovations as an excuse to flush out what they don't want. They want to be an active part of the Monroe Park community, with intentions of coming the second and fourth weekend of each month to show their support. When they contacted Richmond to ask about serving soup in the park they were told that they are only allowed to distribute sealed containers of food. I think that we all know that for years groups of people have been serving hot food prepared in kitchens and brought to the park. Hot food, straight from the pot to your tray. The members of Mount Olive Baptist Church and members of The RVA Hoop Lovers quickly united and had a two hour hoop jam together near the fountain. It was great seeing these two groups together, one as a community.