OMARI AND THE BOX CAR A RITE OF PASSAGE
Spring had come early to Atlanta, the largest city in Georgia. It is a week before Easter. As Omari walks through the Atlanta forest, he happens upon a lemon tree. This is fine for him. He has a lemon squeezer. He can sell the juice. The rays of sunshine slant through the branches just starting to leaf now. Only the wind sighs through the trees. The first blossoms burst from the tree branches in silence. The gentle breeze feathering the new leaves—just enough to fan the fair blackness lain nicely upon Omar i’s skin tone. His mother named him Omari. She told him she likes the way the letters flow from her tongue. She said. “What I like most is it’s Swahili meaning, that is, ‘God is Highest’. Omari your name means that you will always be reminded that you have a rite to be on this earth.
Walking he could still hear his mother saying every rite comes with price. She said, “ Your mission is your price, Omari. Complete your mission”.
Incredibly, there it stood. It blocked Omari’s path, a single boxcar next to the lemon tree by a running brook. – The boxcar, a remnant from the civil war, now marked it’s own territory.
Looking at the boxcar, Omari is reminded of stories from his Grandfather. He said “Omari, Nimrod, Noah’s black grandchild, built the Tower of Babylon 4000 years ago. The tower that he built is the first recorded observatory.” His Grandfather continued, “From this observatory, Nimrod studied and named the stars of the Galaxy.” He told Omari “look around you Omari to see all the inventions that blacks, like me and you invented to answer a need—a need to make our own lives better. Omari listened to the stories told to him by his grandfather.
Starting with a mop, a lawn mover and an air conditioner, Omari transformed the boxcar into a model of the hotel Hilton presidential suite using only Black inventions shared almost daily from the stories from Omari’s Grandfather.
Now, ten years later, Omari arrives at downtown Los Angeles Mission. New laws having been enacted such as:
LAMC 41 18D which states, “No person shall sit, lie or sleep upon any street, sidewalk or public way”.
So, in this concrete jungle, known as Los Angeles, 200 homeless people, seniors and handicapped individuals wait to meet with Omari. They will combine their SSI fortunes. They will build their own boxcar cities, one boxcar at a time.
As Spring comes early to Los Angeles the Largest City in California, so too, by rite come the box cars.