Every two weeks on Thursdays from 7pm to 9pm, DLIVE (Detroit Life is Valuable Everyday) holds what they call Trauma Support Groups. They are held at Sinai Grace Hospital and they are basically a time where all the members in DLIVE come together and fellowship. They have food and drinks all while sitting at tables talking to each other, sharing stories, and getting updates from Ray and Calvin. It was the best experience so far because I got to see most of the members that DLIVE works with. All of the young men there had been either shot or stabbed at some point, which is why they became apart of DLIVE in the first place. What made it my favorite experience was simply hearing the stories of these guys. The fact that they were still alive and well was a miracle, more importantly hearing how they had changed their lives around because of DLIVE was a miracle as well. One guy in particular, who had been twice in the back, was able to go back to school, get his GED, certifications in areas he was interested in, and now was working in a job that was paying him really well. The meeting gave everybody hope, was very uplifting, and inspiring to me. It told me that people can be helped and that with the right opportunity they are able to do what they got to do for the sake of their life. People told stories of forgiveness and light at the end of the tunnel. People at different points were in tears and I’m talking people who were deemed by society as animals, criminals, bottom of the barrel simply because they were black. As a black man myself, I understand the stereotypes and images that society has on me and people like me. With programs like DLIVE, it allows for people to go against those images and stereotypes. Instead, they can write their own narrative and live their best life. I felt a connection to these men, maybe not in their backgrounds, but definitely as a black man. That day was long and tiring but the trauma support group gave me the boost of energy that I needed as I left the hospital for the day.
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