Had to retire these old boots. Man if they could talk, they would speak of a time years ago when they could protect citizens from the worst of our society. They’d attest to walking families to shelters and the elderly to housing., to running after those who caused fear and harm. They would speak of helping me stand even if it was alone to speak truth to power, to be able to do things no one thought could be done.
These boots would tell stories of the flights of stairs I ran down from a roof, to catch a drug dealer hiding under the guise of homelessness, to drop off drugs to drug programs. Doors I had to kick down to rid hotels of pushers. Protests I had to stand for hours in for crowds who only felt powerful in larger groups, as they verbally abused me for something that happened in another part of the country.
Fights I had to protect the weak from. Tours I gave to educate politicians, college students, and activists with hopes, that my truth would help those with the means to make changes based on truth, not idealism. Boots that bravely walked into a juvenile hall to tell young Black and Hispanic boys, that they were valuable and loved. Engaged in prayer vigils for the homeless. Boots that would brag about kicking 80 drug dealers out of a recovery zone, and brought down one of the biggest drug dealers twice by walking toward building bridges of trust with my community. A community that was once indoctrinated to fear me.
Boots that walked tirelessly on the block to the chagrin of the predatory element. Boots that gave the homeless and recovery community six years of safety that they deserved like any other community. Boots that has been spat on, cursed at, and even prayed over. I guess the latter is how I stayed above water and unsigned by fire.
I can’t even hand them down as they have holes in them and the souls are worn. Hell, they probably hurt me more than they help anyone now a days. Gotta let them go. I can’t just throw them away. Yet, I cannot live or walk in the past.
I threw on my new boots yesterday. The new boots did not feel the same at first, but they looked nice. I felt sorry for them as I shuttered at the new era, they would be walking in. An era where they will be resisted at every step towards creating a safe environment based on the reality of where they tread, by those who are supposed to believe in law and order.
Yesterday, I took my new boots for a spin in this new era. As I drove down one of the last streets in my area that has not been completely decimated by blight and blatant criminality, I saw a man with a broken leg laid out on the sidewalk. Someone assaulted him and robbed him of his crutches. These new boots went to a hospital. They got hime some crutches and provided them to the man. Good job new boots. I think we will get along just fine. It won’t be easy, but the man in the boots refuses to easily give up.
We got some more walking to do.