then the sun goes down and you have the other wilmington come alive. the one where residents close their doors, pull their shades and hope the night passes without another shooting in their neighborhood. the drug dealers slowly make their way to the corners and areas where they ply their trade. the young men...too young....start roaming the street carrying guns waiting to be the next headline. young men, too young but old enough to know, walk the streets that they view as their own, waiting for the next victim to rob, assault or murder. the cars you don't see during the daylight hours arrive with the drugs or other illegal items to drop off or deliver. people walking the streets to home take on another demeanor as they warily look over their shoulder or dart their eyes back and forth ahead of them looking and hoping for a safe passage to their residences. businesses close early in wilmington. alot of them close because it's just not safe to be open late at night without being robbed or worse. people in those same neighborhoods that walk the street in the daylight hours take refuge in their homes for fear of being stabbed, shot or robbed. if your child is late arriving home you become anxious for their safety. every nite you can hear gunshots somewhere in the city. alot of those nites, too many, are followed by the news the next day of another murder, another life cut short and another family in grief. the mayor is trying, the police dept. is trying, the city council is looking for answers..answers that everyone awaits so they no longer feel held hostage in their own city, in their own neighborhood, in their own home. the people that won't come to wilmington after the sun goes down also wait....they wait for the city to solve the crime rate and find an answer to the gun violence so they too can once again enjoy the grand old city by the river. new business prospects also wait so they can invest their dollars in this city and the entire economy of the city can grow and expand. those answers will eventually come, but there is a limit on the time everyone is willing to wait.
then there's the final city of wilmington. that's the city of the homeless and poor. they are caught somewhere in the middle of the previous two. there are 35 thousand children in the state of delaware that are living below the poverty line. many of them are here in the city of wilmington. there are 6 thousand homeless people in the state of delaware. many of them again are here in the city of wilmington. unemployment is high and the job growth has been slow. food pantries are stretched, the sunday breakfast mission continues to see the number of people utilizing their services grow and increase from the previous year. drug rehabs are at capacity, both for treatment and to have a place to live. the poor struggle daily to survive, waiting for the city they live in to offer a way out thru employment and financial opportunity. the homeless walk the street daily waiting for the path to employment and housing and a new life to open up so they can end their ordeal and struggle and return to a satisfying and productive life. they all wait....they all struggle....daily....all year long. they want a revitalized city also. they too look and wait for answers that don't come. they, more than anyone, see all sides of the city and are most effected by all three sides and the byproducts of them. they, more than anyone are exposed to the good, the bad, the safe and the most dangerous parts of the city. they wait. they hope. they watch.
hopefully in the not too distant future there will be only one wilmington. one that is safe for all its residents ...all the time...nite or day. hopefully we who wait will reap the benefit of the city we all know wilmington could be. hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. because for some...too many....that later doesn't arrive.
see you around town