You feel a depth of pain that at first snags your heart and you cry tears of sadness. Then an angry sensation sears through your nervous system…it is a state of existence that seems quite normal if one lives in Chicago and is in tune with the events of the hood or just regularly watches the news. All of it seems to settle with a big depressing thud right in the middle of your spirit and you ask yourself how many more? What can I do? Why? How?
The loss of life is never any less senseless in situations where children are involved…never a way to make sense of the insanity, even after the 50th child is murdered within the first four months of 2014.
Such is the case upon hearing the news that 14 year old Endia Martin was shot to death, by her 14 year old former friend; an argument over a boy taken to the streets from a Facebook beef.
The anger consumes you and you want somebody to pay for the absolutely deranged order of things. Whereby kids are no longer arguing and having a fist fight but cocking back and following through with pulling a trigger to not only shoot at, but shoot again until the victim falls like action in a video game. But it is not a game. No brilliant sounds or lights signaling the score or proclaiming a winner. It is real. And the only sounds and flashing lights come from the ambulance and police cars…no winners. Two lives lost in a minute of thoughtless aggression.
You become depressed when you know full well that little 14 year old girls 20 miles away in Edgewater and Ravenswood are having catty arguments over boys and other such juvenile melodramas…and yes they are engaging in cyber-cat fights and bullying. Ridiculous selfies that are ripe for 20/20 hindsight…and you wish, really pray hard for the times when the girls in your community could have a life so simple…where they can be assured that no matter what, a violent death is possible yet not highly probable.
Why is that?
Heartbreaking that Endia Martin will never get to realize her dream of traveling the world…she’ll never follow in her mother’s footsteps to become a nurse and possibly a physician. She is dead. A bullet struck her petite body. Blood spilled from her body. She lay lifeless, zipped into a plastic bag and carried to a coroner. Do you FEEL THAT?!? It is not just news, this is happening to a family, to teenagers who have to return to the same school, same streets as she just walked the day before.
And to add unto the tragedy the accused shooter, another 14 year old girl, was handed the gun by her adult uncle…and another family member helped unjam the gun after her first attempt. She then had to stand alone, no family, nobody who cared enough to stand with her as her fate is dictated to her by the court system.
So much screams at us that we are completely off track if in fact we truly CARE about the lives of our children.
Here’s the deal.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently gave public statements questioning the morals and values of the families/parents of people who shoot/kill others. Okay. I’ll give you that..if you also apply the same theory to the families/parents of those who shot up Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and other such incidences.
All the values in the world, all the compassion and dreams can be smothered to death when lack, and want and survival are suffocated without their airline of resources.
So now here’s where you should stop reading if any diversion from political correctness makes you uncomfortable.
That was your warning.
STFU about values, STFU telling kids they are the future…just STFU if you are not present in the lives of any children who do not share your blood line. STFU if you had any part in the closing of 54 schools located within the most desperate communities of our city. STFU if you have had any part in the dismantling of the family structure with policies that castigate fathers and harden mothers. STFU if you are producing/playing/dancing to spirit killing music and not reading to your children. STFU if you shake your head, pack up your family and move away without planting seeds for growth within the ones still behind. STFU if you have not asked for accountability beyond a press conference and photo opp with politicians and celebrities.
EVERYONE READING THIS HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO SAVE OUR CHILDREN!
How? Here a few ways to begin…
- Be an example…show up present and genuine to CONSISTENTLY volunteer your time
- Build partnerships/coalitions like South Side Coalition on Urban Girls to service girls (Demoiselle 2 Femme; Global Girls; House of Prima Donnas; Girls Like Me Project, Inc; Human Resources Development Institute; Mercy Home for Boys & Girls; Polished Pebbles)
- Support National Block Club University
- Enroll/Refer a child to programs like Project 41 at Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church (GreenLight Movement; Teen Nation, Girls Like Me Project, Inc) or Black Star Project, Chicago Park District
- Encourage teens to apply for AfterSchool Matters jobs
- Petition CPS to hire more social workers/clinical therapist
- Petition CPS to fund more social/cultural programming to positively impact social-behavioral
- Demand your alderman hold community safety forums
- Demand fair/balanced media representation
- Demand positive music/programming on radio & TV
- Get involved in community/resident organizations such as R.A.G.E. (Residents Association of Greater Englewood)
- Take it to the streets…do block clean up and ask young people to help out
- Involve you in your hobbies (biking running, golfing, fishing, fashion, etc.)
- Speak to EVERY person you pass with a smile and recognize the God within them.
- Encourage yourself to be a light.
There are never enough ideas or ways to transform our community and save our babies! If you have more to add, please feel free to share!