iritFrom my office window, as I am writing this, a stage is being assembled for a SXSW concert. Downtown is a different scene this week. Many of the year-round “regulars” stay away from downtown and businesses close for spring break. They are replaced by flocks of young to old folks carrying guitars, drums, and SXSW badges; some are crossing the street just below my window. Upstairs at St. David’s, church halls of worship become concert halls and there is excitement in the air. There is still much work to be done for those of us who are keeping our regular schedules, only with more people needing services and traffic at a stand-still.

For the neighbors who come to Trinity Center, this is a complex week. Though more “colorful” and interesting, this is certainly a time when they are even less welcomed in downtown. The number of police officers around ARCH (across the street from our location) is significant and visible and more people come to our center to eat breakfast, take refuge, and “stay out of trouble”. Among them are some new faces of youngsters from out of town, here for the festivity. We don’t ask anyone how well or poor they are. We serve all; we love all.

On February 23rd,  we had our yearly fundraiser celebrating the lives of the late Barbara Jordan and the Rev. Pat Hazel. This year, we held the event at St. David Episcopal church and it turned out to be a huge success, surpassing our fundraising goal and enjoying more of a party and hanging out together than in our past luncheons. A bow of gratitude is due to Meghann Ziler, Robin Shepherd, Kelly Talbert, Martha DeGrasse, Cissy Warner, Riki Rushing, and Mary Keenan – all of whom worked hard and long to make this such a success. Gratitude is also due to Nevie Owens, for her creative new video about Trinity Center, and our two neighbors, Rochelle and Jeff, who spoke to what Trinity Center means to them and touched everyone’s hearts. Their speeches brought to clarity what is so unique about this place. They both spoke about the respect, love and empowerment that they feel here.  A deep bow of gratitude is due to all who made contributions to Trinity Center bringing us to this level of success. Contributions ranged from $50 to $10,000, all according to our supporters’ means and all from people who live with a compassionate heart and deep care for others. As you bless, may you all be blessed!

On a personal note, I will celebrate Passover this year with my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in Israel. During the Passover meal and rituals we are reminded that we are all on a journey from inner bondage to spiritual freedom. To me this journey toward spiritual freedom is all about serving and loving well, cultivating a heart of compassion, and remembering God.

I thank all of you for being my/our fellow travelers on this journey.


In shalom,

Irit Umani