The day that Mike Brown was shot, I remember being at my desk with my head in my hands and thinking, “The schools are closed for a week and what the hell are we gonna do because there’s all these kids who suddenly have no place to go.” There’s all these parents who suddenly have to stay home from work because they have to watch them and any one of them can get fired for not showing up, whether you have a good excuse or not.
So in walks Carrie Pace, an art school teacher at Walnut Grove Elementary up the road here. She said, “I have some teachers and they want to help and can we have some tables and maybe do some tutoring,” and before she even got that sentence out I had jumped up and I’m like, “Oh hell yeah!” That first day we only had 20 kids. The next morning a handful of teachers were out front holding signs that said “School here, Bring your kids here.” By Wednesday we had more than 140 kids, more than a hundred volunteers and teachers. It was so huge, I had to thread my way through piles of children.
It was only going to get bigger, so we needed to either put a cap on it or find some way to expand it. Carrie called the First Baptist Church and told them the problem, and they immediately agreed. Our numbers that day were more than 200 kids. It didn’t matter how bad it got that night, if it’s safe, then I will open the library and have school for peace. We changed as a library.