Saturday, September 20, 2008

When the Party's Over

I was reading some of the headlines from the local newspaper in Chicago, when I came across this alarming, yet common story. Another Black teen was senselessly killed early yesterday morning. While the brevity of the story does not provide many details, it did mention that he was leaving a party on the South Side of Chicago when he got in an altercation that eventually lead to his untimely death. Was it worth it? What does the culpable assailant have as result of taking this young man's life?

As I seat in Wisconsin, my heart begins to ache when I think of the conditions of inner city Chicago. While I grew on those same streets nearly four years ago, Chicago is definitely a "new" place, almost another world. Every week there seems to be countless deaths and a myriad of mourners who have to live with the emptiness that death brings. As Marvin Gaye posits, what's going on? There is a new boldness in young people today, however that boldness is not being channeled into positive endeavors. Gang affiliations are creeping back in prominence, as educational attainment in the African American community is severely declining. Students are arming themselves with weapons instead of knowledge. Chicago is becoming a breeding ground for violence and the site of the perpetuation of imprisonment, disenfranchisement, and eventually the denial of citizenship for many African American males.

At the tender age of seventeen, did he even have a chance? A chance to pursue higher education. A chance to impact others with his intellect. A chance to transcend the institutional and societal barriers that young, Black men experience each day. Unfortunately, this young man did not get a chance, it was stolen by the shear disregard placed on life these days.

We have to figure out some type of way to reach these young people and give them back their agency. They need to see positive reflections of themselves and hear reaffirming things about their intelligence, beauty, and worth. These young people are not their circumstances, they need not wade in the obscurity of mediocrity. They have to take their place in the front and not the rear. We have to offer our FUTURE, hope and a belief in their talents and abilities.

My prayers and condolences go out to this family at this challenging time and to all of those who have lost a family member to gun violence. To read the story go to the following link:,partyshoot092008.article

Take the City indeed...

1 comment:

D.Son said...

The sad thing is that there are larger institutions at work, that collectively keep this mind set alive in our community.

Everything form the poor educational system in Chicago, to the neighborhoods left impoverished-gentrification, to the Media who consistently seems to represent African Americans in the same stereotypical ways. When our children walk out the door, or even when they turn on the television at home, we are competing with an infinite amount of forces vying for the souls of our young people.

It has been said, but I'll say it again! It begins within the home and how parents LOVE and CARE for their children. I believe LOVE is a powerful thing, cause it's only those whom LOVE their self, who KNOW they deserve better. And LOVE wouldn't kill.

Obviously, it is not that simple. But our children only do what they have been taught, sold, and bought. All of which begins inside of the home.