The Irving Effect (T.I.E) Movement Inauguration Night: A Night of Healing
I approached the Cicero Stadium with expectancy, as I walked up the stairs to the event I was impacted by the type of music they were playing. They played Christ filled music and I found myself engorged with the Spirit of God; perhaps because I and my prayer team from church had been praying about the event the entire week and the presence of God heavily lingered within me.
I stepped into the gymnasium where many young people finished decorating the altar running down the bleachers in which two huge drawings stood. The drawing on the left depicted Christ Jesus, whereas the drawing on the right depicted Mary. A Cross formed out of white tissue paper and lights and as you ran your eyes down the bleachers some candles lit the photographs of deceased loved ones, loved ones of the event attendees.
On Nov. 2, 2017 the event took place in observance of a Mexican tradition called Dia de Los Muertos, in which the dead are remembered. In exchange Eddie Lopez, Director of the Community Outreach Program added a twist to the tradition taking hold of the opportunity to accentuate life, peace, and unity. The event was geared towards urban young people inviting them to join The Irving Effect (T.I.E), a movement titled to honor Irving Estrada, a young man who was killed earlier this year due to street violence. T.I.E was established to halt the cycle of violence in the Cicero Community and surrounding cities. During the event many young people from the Cicero and local Chicago Communities attended for open basketball, live DJ, and for B-Boy and B-Girl open practice.
After hours of developed gameplay, the youth were gathered for some word and live music. Upcoming Christian artist Tereya Grace set the atmosphere with her performance. Thereafter, Eddie Lopez and family members of deceased young people including Irving Estrada’s shared their tragic testimonies in order to persuade the youth to join the T.I.E movement. All testimonies were touching, but Lelani Love’s story was imprinted in my heart. She was found dead one morning after a night of drinking it up. She passed because she did not take her insulin and dehydration. Her friends ignored her plea to take her home; instead they encouraged her to drink some more and to have a good time. Senseless deaths such as Lelani’s and Irving’s are exactly what the T.I.E movement hopes to prevent.
It was emotional to observe that the present young people were touched and hence took the oath to become agents to protect and prevent violence in their community. As they formed a line to light up a candle by the altar, every single young man and woman was embraced with a hug and encouraged with words of life from local police officers, community activists, the deceased family members, and other personalities—myself included. My heart was full to be able to personally and individually share with each young man and woman their worth. It was as if I was crowning them with the glory of God. I declared to each as tears traveled down their cheeks, “You were created with a purpose and a future that can only be found in Christ, seek Him and you will find it. You are worth it; you are a warrior price/princess,” they were grateful and hugged me a second time.
This night marked the beginning of the healing of a community. The event closed with a powerful prayer conducted by Tereya Grace and myself. I prayed that the Holy Spirit may open their eyes to truth so they can take their rightful place as kings and queens of God’s grace. It is my continuous prayer including also that the T.I.E movement may expand the borders of Cicero throughout the Chicagoland; and why not, throughout our country for the much needed healing.
Special thanks to Larry Dominick and the Board of Trustees