St. John Missionary Baptist Church owns a vacant lot at the corner of East Brundage Lane and Northrup Street. Repeated, illegal dumping is occurring on this property: mattresses, shoes, old clothes, you name it. The stench is so bad it can be smelled on Tyree Toliver Street.

The next door neighbor is a gem: widowed and sick with leukemia. She asked me what the church planned to do to keep the lot clean. I told her that since we don't know who's doing it, we will try to keep cleaning the lot on the back end. She knew exactly who the offenders were, down to the vehicle they drove, yet, not wanting to create problems on top of problems for herself, chose to keep her mouth shut. She knows that if she calls the city and lodges a complaint, St. John is legally obligated to clean the vacant lot in a certain time frame. She explained that all she does is sit in her room and look into the distance at our lot. I promised her that I would give her a better view. Lord, heal her from leukemia and heal our neighborhood from apathy.

Jeremy Wright

St. John Missionary Baptist Church

Bakersfield