Pierre Mbala and two friends were headed to get pizza on an overcast, chilly Thursday in late March, 2018. On the way, they stopped at a convenience store for a soda or maybe some candy, and to taste the freedom that comes with being 17.
The courtroom was chilly as participants in the afternoon hearing on a recent Thursday trickled in. Some were alone, others entered with partners and family members. But this wasn’t like many other court proceedings, marked by tension and conflict.
As Harrisonburg Police Chief Eric English outlined his policing philosophies and answered questions from about 30 community members at his first town hall meeting Monday, he kept returning to a central theme.
Male residents of the Gemeinschaft Home — a halfway house — created powerful songs and emotional messages after teaming up with JMU music and social work students. The result was Story Table, in which many of those stories and songs were shared Monday night at Merge Coffee Co. and Bowl of Good.