April 2008 was a very interesting and eventful month. The VCU MSA Coffeehouse was obviously a big highlight, we had Tyson and DJ BLM visit from California to perform at the event. 123 was also the site of a crime scene earlier in the month, we had cops everywhere and everything, wiiild. I’ll let the pictures tell the stories though…
The MSA gathered a crowd of over 200 to watch Muslims share their creative talents on stage for Coffeehouse 2008. Tyson and DJ BLM, part of Remarkable Current in California, visited and delivered a unique performance for the audience. Here, Tyson is pictured on stage during his set with his fist raised, with the VCU Coffeehouse tag on the screen in the background.
Local spoken word poet and social activist, Alex Cena, performs one of his poems on stage for the audience at the Coffeehouse. The view is seen from behind the drums setup for other acts in the program.
I’m really only posting this picture so I have an excuse to post a link to Nasreen’s blog. She came to visit from DC and is seen here standing in front of the art exhibit at the Coffeehouse, which features art from Muslim students at VCU. Check out her blog though, she’s in the Philippines right now on a Fulbright scholarship, doing research on Islamic financing in the region. Very interesting 🙂
It always ends up back at 123. Tyson and BLM were cool enough to hang out with us after the show and came over to 123 to chill with everybody.
A group of us were sitting on the porch at 123 a week before Coffeehouse when this was taken. Tayeeb was pretending to play this guitar.
So, as you can see, we were just chillin. Sittin on the porch, playing some music and kickin back. It was around 1 AM on a Thursday night. Around 10 minutes after this picture was taken, 3 guys walked up to our front step and posted up. 2 of them pulled out guns and loaded them, one of them actually raised his gun and pointed it at some of us.
I was standing next to the front door when i initially heard a clanking sound like a gun being loaded. I looked over to my left and saw one of the guys holding a pistol with his face covered, and then I looked over and saw another guy with his gun raised. The third was just standing in between, staring at us. I immediately turned around, opened the door, walked in, and then shut the front door. Now, I admit, I did seriously contemplate locking the door, even though my friends were still outside, cuz the survivor instinct just kicked in, but luckily I didn’t. I just walked to the back of the house to make sure the backdoor was locked and then pulled out my phone and dialed 911.
All of this took place about 15 secs after the guys showed up and everyone else still hadn’t reacted until I again walked back towards the front door. By that time, our guys finally ran into the house, nearly tripping over each other, and the 3 gunmen ran off. Apparently, they were thrown off-guard by me walking inside and told everyone else not to go in…but of course they ran in anyways. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the 3 ran away instead of taking shots.
The rest of the night was full of police reports and stints of paranoia and anger. The police had to document the entire occurrence as an attempted robbery, even though no one technically asked for anything. We like to attribute that to the fact that we reacted before they could do as much. We were, and still are, very thankful nothing happened. It was reported that the same 3 guys robbed a group sitting on their porch a few blocks away from our house the same night. There were also reports of 3 similar guys robbing and pistol whipping people in subsequent weeks.
This was especially freaky for us because a student was shot and killed after being robbed less than a mile away from us the night before by two teenage shooters. Those guys were eventually arrested and they weren’t the same people, I don’t know if our assailants were ever caught.