Friday, December 09, 2005

A Job Story in the Washington Ghetto

I met Tondrea London about 5 years ago when my office was looking for a family in the Suitland area who needed a little extra help. I've been doing this for years, always looking for families that are really trying to emerge from poverty. I encouraged her to apply for a job at the federal government office where I work. She got that job and has continued to work hard and be recognized. My office has helped this family at significant times throughout the years since I first met her.

What first struck me about Tondrea was her energy and her positive attitude no matter what the circumstance. She lived in subsidized housing that was riddled with drug dealers. She witnessed shootings and even held her cousin in her arms as he died from a gunshot wound. She took good care of her 5 children, trying to keep them out of the trouble that was all around them.

In July of this year Tondrea's 19-year-old daughter Aisha was the victim of a drive-by shooting that left her completely paralyzed. Tondrea has stayed at her side whenever she was able to be there since that point in time. She has always maintained that Aisha is going to walk again, even in the face of hopelessness. Aisha has a 2-year-old daughter that Tondrea has treated as her own child. Tondrea's son Dion was arrested because he took it upon himself to go after those who shot Aisha with a gun, which was never fired. He is in jail in Haggarstown.

I just learned that Tondrea was killed last night by a hit-and-run driver as she tried to cross the street to go to her second job. She lingered for a few hours and then died of massive injuries. She leaves behind a child in the hospital on a ventilator, a child in jail, two children and a grandchild at a home that now has no parent.

Today Tondrea was going to share with me her children's wish lists for Christmas. I'm sure each of those children would put having their mother with them at the top of their list. My heart grieves for this poor woman who tried so hard to make life work, but whose life has now been extinguished. We take so much for granted...


Blogger A Unique Alias said...

Wow. That's shocking.

My condolences on the loss of your friend.

10:27 AM  
Blogger DC Cookie said...

I'm not sure I have the words. It's eye-opening to discover how selfish we are when reading a story like that.

Our prayers go out...

3:43 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Sorrows upon sorrows. What a terrible loss for that family.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Cee said...

I am steadily reading through your archives, and was so shocked to come upon this entry. I was hoping, in the back of my mind, that in later months I would find out that Aisha was walking again. How terribly, terribly sad.

11:53 PM  

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