The Day of Healing initiative was conceived around this time last year as a way for communities affected by violence to promote peace among rival gangs. On Saturday, the Taylor’s Alley community near downtown Belize City, received its long-awaited share of healing.
Perry “Sticks” Smith, organizer, reflects on how far the program has come.
“Well, my bredda, wi mih suppuoz to be yer from laas yea’. Me and Miss Van mih waa touch dis community ya, yu andastand me?.. becaaz, unnu ha know Daze a Healing, when wi staatid fahn Dean Street wid the shoot, the quadruple mordaaz deh. E stil crazy, mi bredda, just di tink bout Ms. Dorla Vaughn who spearheaded dat, yu andastan? But fih mih stap, Mis Vanzie fahn mi area…and yu know everybody fahn di area and yu know I dih run widin, and me and Mis Vanzie cohn sid dong and seh, wi haf fih cohn chu ya, but becaaz a al di rain weh bles wi Daze a Healing, we neva see dat, and wi gawn bac da sohn communities twice, wi neva reech ya yet, and when wi reech ya, wi reech ya in time, yu andastan me, mi bredda? Wi neva mih reech to di level deh dat no only di coming community membaaz deh di out fuh work. Wi hav di cord and coat; gang membaaz deh, di gang leedaaz deh, di come updih step up fuh dehng community, and dat da weh Pinelo di du rait ya. Hihn di show dehn like, luk ya, wi duu wahn change and dat da weh Daze a Healing is all about”.
According to Smith, the heavy Police presence in the area was part of an arrangement to both ensure safety and give the Police’s Community Policing initiative a chance to step forward. Area resident and organizer Tulio Caceres expressed his pride in his fellow area residents.
“I heard about it and I have seen it. “Sticks” encourage me a lot and I picked up[ from one person weh a name me know]; I just mih know a by name. Now, I know ahn by face…da wa sweet person, and I glad she touch fahn level since, and feel it it pahn my community ca’ yu cud tek wa luk rong, and no see dis yow, years. I feel proud a weh I di du right now. Before dehn try stap me dis mawnin fahn du weh I mih di du, I give tanks tu Mis. Van, Mista Stan and mi lee bway “Sticks”. I really proud a it becaaz green pipl neva deh tugedda-tugedda mek naybaaz intarac wid each adda, or mek pipl intarac wit we, weh pipl cal gang membaaz…and at the end a dih day, da two porsn push me and dehn stil gat me eena it an d I no di tink bout stap!”
There were activities for young and old including sports. The Day of Healing next moves to Gales Point for its first event outside of Belize City on April 19, Holy Saturday, before returning in May and June to the Majestic Alley and Ghost town areas. The event and donations are free of charge.