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  • I’ve been visiting my daughter for the past two weeks in Brooklyn. She has a beautiful newly renovated apartment in Crown Heights that she shares with an old college buddy. Her neighborhood is in classic gentrification mode, with some people reluctant to change and others embracing it. Trendy little wine shops, health food markets, and new stores and restaurants are cropping up on the main drags.

    Walking down the Eastern Parkway to the Brooklyn Museum, a beautiful tree lined street with a walkway very much reminiscent of the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, I saw a tall thin elegant looking black woman wearing a yellow pillbox hat with a wide brim and a shocking pink coat that hung loosely on her to mid calf. She looked like a flower standing amongst an overcast grey and drizzling sky and old growth trees that covered with a green canopy. I felt shy, because I was obviously watching her and I started to speak but hesitated. She simply said to me as she passed “Grace and peace be with you”.

    Where was the hi, I extend to everyone on the morning walk. Why was I feeling so small and so dislocated? Why did this Jamaican neighborhood that my daughter belongs to take me totally by surprise? Was my awkward behavior coming from fear of some sort of retribution for being white? I was in a strange place, a place in transition, and she welcomed me as beautifully as she looked. I stood there and understood why my daughter had wanted me to see the Brooklyn she loved and in that moment, I stood in my daughters shoes.

    “Thank You” was all I could muster, but it was enough.
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