She would have turned five

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And there I stood almost interminably, my bike laying at my feet, my head in hands which were now drenched with tears.

I had wandered off the path while I was riding back to Clarkston from Stone Mountain when the wilting flowers, deflating balloons, and blanket of stuff caught my eye. As I got closer, it quickly hit me — this was the grave of the little girl who had been killed walking in a crosswalk right in front of her elementary school last fall. You may have heard about it in the newspaper or on TV. You may have forgotten about it. But there apparently had been a party of sorts here recently, with dolls and new clothes and what must have been her favorite foods. Last Friday, in fact (if my guess after seeing the date on the tombstone is correct). When she would have turned five.

fullsizerender-31I had passed the stuffed animals and flowers that comprised a memorial to her at the MARTA bus stop on the other side of the crosswalk when I first started riding my bike two times a week in Clarkston, the most diverse square mile in the USA, this past January while waiting for my younger daughter to finish one of her dual-enrollment college courses at Georgia State University’s campus there. I had written a post recently to encourage folks to ask our state legislators to approve a measure allowing speed cameras in school crosswalks, and had silently thanked God when it passed.

But today I cried. I just stood there and cried. And then I finished riding back to Clarkston, and I rode right over to that crosswalk. I got off my bike and pushed the beg button and walked when the white man told me I could walk. And then I watched as drivers sped through the crosswalk right in front of me. Did they not know that a little girl had been killed here? Did they not know that last Friday she would have turned five?

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