Community Healing Through Gospel

When poet Terri Meredith first heard about the Dunbar Village tragedy, it was by word of mouth. She had to read the article for herself to believe that such a horrible story was true. “At first I shut it out and assumed it was urban legend,” said Terri. “After I double and triple checked the facts, that’s when I started raising funds.”

The crime occurred recently in Palm Beach when a group of ten young men allegedly broke into the home of an innocent mother and son. What transpired then was a scene so sadistic, evil, and demonic that it’s inspired individuals from as close as next door to as far away as Texas to unite in mass fundraising efforts for the surviving mother and son. “They are going to need a lifetime of healing and help,” empathized Terri before ticking off just a few of the ways funds will be used: “Therapy, hospitalization, treating the chemical agents in [one victim’s] eyes…we must think long term.”

Otherwise unfathomable events like the Dunbar Village Tragedy tend to have a ripple effect; the painful imagery that we fight to remove from our minds leaves behind an imprint. Since that imprint directly affect the way we view the world, Terri is more concerned than ever about the public’s impressions of young African American men. “With the ages of the assailants, it’s easy to think: ‘There’s no hope: Our future is doomed,’” said Terri. It’s time for rejuvenation and reaffirmation, she says.. So, she’s using her weekly poetry night Voicez and Vybez to do just that. Tonight at Troy’s (2990 W. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) crowds from every neighborhood are coming together to listen as 14 year-old gospel prodigy Jedidiah Brown shakes the walls with songs of atonement, forgiveness, and healing. Also performing is saxophonist Jonathan Ross and two powerful spoken word artists. Everyone attending can donate at the door, and for those who can’t make it – no problem. Just swing into any Wachovia bank and tell them you want to donate to the Dunbar Victim Assistance Fund, or go online to and make a PayPal contribution. There is a $7 donation at the door. Call 954-696-1917.

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Jamie Laughlin