Open Letter to Save Our Youth and Stop the Violence
When the death of black males at the hand of non-blacks and those in authority occur the media has non-stop coverage of these incidences. However, the aggressor in these situations are not the solitary cause of murders of our young black males. Now, this fact does not lessen the occurrences or outrage of the killings that leave our communities in an uproar. The truth is black on black crime is a serious on-going issue in this society. Just a week ago another young black male was shot and killed by someone who looked just like him. The story made local headlines but it did not go viral because it was a black on black crime. Some feel this crime was just another day in the life of a young black male in his community. The world does not seem to care although they should. Every life matters. It’s a travesty that in a short moment in time lives are ruined forever. The shooter who will eventually be caught and the victim who loses his life. The ringing question in my mind that continues to go unanswered after these acts of violence by one brother on another brother is WHY? There is no answer to the parents of the victims who are forced to go on with a permanent void in their lives. There is no solace for siblings, other relatives, and friends of the victim. There is no peace in the community. Only sadness and emptiness clouds the airwaves of the community where the crime occurred.
Gun violence is a serious issue which is not restricted to the black community. Research of local news sources will reveal that gun violence is prevalent in youth of different races. It is evident that after massive and targeted shootings occur leaders hone in on the lack of gun control. Discussions become top priority regarding the availability of firearms and its misuse. However, this stance of gaining control over gun accessibility appears to be obsolete as time passes after these tragic events has occurred. Questions still go unanswered, laws still go unsigned, and murders still occur. Each incidence leaves the same ringing question in my mind WHY? In addition, other questions of concern surface. Questions regarding the psychological state of the shooter that results in a crime. These questions when answered and acted upon can lead to change and reduce the rate of black on black crime in our community and gun violence in our society.
How are parents interacting with their teens prior to their possession of guns?
How do parents advise their children to handle their aggression?
How do firearms get into the hands of so many young people?
Why aren’t parents paying closer attention to emotional changes in their children?
When teens are granted autonomy are parents inquiring about their activities?
Where do parents draw the line?
What if we could help stop the violence?
What if we could show more love and attention to our youth?
What if we stopped dressing them up in expensive clothing on the outside while they carry hate and anger on the inside?
What if we could teach our young men to invest in themselves instead of guns?
What if we could teach our young girls to gain knowledge to better themselves instead of designer jeans, a quick weave, and a full set?
What if we could teach our youth that life is about more than a popularity contest or retaliation?
What if we taught our children to effectively and nonviolently express their frustrations?
What if we as adults could lead by example?
I know that examining the responses to these questions can help stop the violence. I believe if we could do these things, we can start a trend of stopping the violence and prove that every life matters. After a shooting has occurred, after the shooter has been sentenced, after the funeral of a young loved one, after all the media coverage has faded from the airwaves, what will you do?
Our youth is our future and we need to save them from the street mentality that killing is the answer to their problems because in fact it is a continuation of a pre-existing problem. I applaud the individuals and organizations who are reaching out to our youth to encourage positive behaviors. I applaud the parents who spend quality time with their children. I applaud those in authority who are role models for our youth. However, for those who choose to be silent on the issues that face our youth, I challenge you to play an active part in the life of at least one child. We all can play a role in saving our youth. I encourage parents to observe the language and actions of your children and appropriately address any inappropriate or abnormal behavior. I encourage community members to volunteer with youth serving organizations that instill values in our children. Violence does not have to continue. It can be stopped. We do not have to continue to lose out on our future to senseless crimes and hate. I plea to you be a part of saving our youth and stopping the violence.