My friend, Rabbi Shimon, has been walking an hour per day. The results are phenomenal. He has lost a lot of weight. He looks great. He has inspired me to return to a daily walking regimen.
I left my office and walked through the park and out to SOM Center. One full lap was about a mile and a quarter. Not enough. I started down the street and saw a policeman sitting in his car. He was parked beside a large construction dumpster, hidden from the view of cars traveling eastbound, enforcing the speed limit along our street. I decided not to turn around. I said “Hi” and waved as I approached, about ten yards from his car. I wanted to make sure that he saw me. I wanted to make sure I didn’t startle him. We exchanged pleasantries as I passed, not breaking stride, and I kept on walking.
I had another half hour to think about this. Why was I concerned? I’m a 60+ year old white businessman that looks like a 60+ year old white businessman (yes, I always look like someone who just escaped his office). Why should I worry about anything? And yet, I do. Please don’t mistake this as being anti-police. I am not. I understand that the police are here to protect and serve our community. I appreciate how wonderfully safe and secure we are in Mayfield Hts. and Mayfield Vlg. These are great places to live and work. But I still have a certain amount of apprehension around officers I don’t know.
I don’t wish to project my concerns onto anyone else. But, if I feel compelled to be a little careful, think about those people who don’t look like me. The US Justice Department instituted community outreach programs in 2010 to address this issue. The City of Cleveland has its own program. I am sure that these programs have had some success, but the challenge is daunting. And the setbacks and failures are very public. It takes a long time to change someone’s perceptions and to eliminate their fears.
I waved at another policeman as he drove by me. He waved back. It is a start. I walked for an hour and got in three miles. That, too, is a start.
Picture – A Safe Place To Walk