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We must never forget: Black men and boys are dying

January 2, 2013 Front Page No Comments

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Eight years ago I was just a normal high school student with my share of challenges, but nothing seemed different than what other teenagers were facing. That is until I received a phone call that changed not only the way I viewed the world, but also my place within it.

My 20-year-old brother Andre was shot and killed a month before his 21st birthday.  His death devastated my family and still continues to hold a dark shadow over our lives today.

What continues to surprise and sadden me till this day is the fact that my brother isn’t the first or the last. Why? Every single day in America, news stories flash snapshots of a life that once was. Years of a young persons’ life is defined in less than two paragraphs in the back pages of a newspaper.  Burier grounds are assigned and  shortly the names are forgotten in the media. Those lives are only remembered by the ones that loved them most and the heavy tombstone-baring legacy to the lives they once laid.

Black men are dying. They are being murdered and not in some far away land but right here in our own backyards. They are our sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins…they are our Trayvon’s, yet they are being used for target practice on our city streets. Where their blood runs through pavement cracks and they are reduce to life size portraits on the sidewalk.

According to the Special Report on Black Victims of Violent Crimes, published in 2007  by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, In 2005, [the year my brother was murdered] blacks were victims of nearly half (49%) of all homicides although accounting for only 13 percent of the U.S. population. What is even more disturbing is that 85 percent of black homicide victims were males and 51 percent between the ages of 17 to 19 years old.

Homicide is the leading cause of death for African American males between the ages of 15- 25 years old. The rate of deaths for African American males could be compared to the number of men and women we lose during times of war.

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Our nation has an extremely troubling problem on its hands. A problem that is only mentioned behind closed doors. A problem that is used as political talking points for elected officials to gain popularity. Yet as these discussions take place, the murders of these young men continue to rise each year in cities across the country, without any real solution insight.  The United States Justice Department estimates that one out of every 21 black men can expect to be murdered, a death rate doubled that of the U.S. soldiers in WWII.

So the question I pose, are we at war? If so, when are we sending in the troops, doctors, and experts to assess the fatality problem and creating a resolution?  I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired of attending funerals for young people dying too early and for no logical reasons.

Death should never be the price tag, for being a black man in America.

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