Two years ago this week, Marshall was attacked in the waning moments of light, standing outside of his school waiting for me to pick him up. A couple of older teen agers accosted him and when he tried to walk away, they knocked him into the hedge beside the school and began kicking him. Marshall, instinctively covered his head and managed to escape with only a few scrapes and bruises.

The whole episode was emotionally exhausting and traumatizing however. I had run about 5 minutes late to pick him up, so felt deep responsibility for his experience. Marshall still felt pretty new to the school and out of place in the inner-city environment. The fact that both of his attackers were black, did not escape him. He felt like an outsider who had just been purposefully, and harshly reminded that he didn’t belong. My heart questioned our decision to place him in that environment. Was I doing more harm than good by choosing to live outside of the bounds of racial and social tensions that define life for so many in Milwaukee?

Today I am thankful for healing, not only of the body, but of the mind and soul as well. Marshall has primarily fond memories of his time in that school. He also lives with abiding awareness and concern for the marginalized among us.

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