We must never forget: Black men and boys are dying

January 2, 2013 Front Page No Comments

casket

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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An Open Letter to Undecided Voters

October 31, 2012 Front Page No Comments

Dear Undecided Voters,

There are many people who unfortunately think your don’t exist but as many polls have indicated, you not only exist, you account for millions of likely voters (5-7 percent of likely voters).  This is important to note because your decision, could very well change the course of this election.

Over the last few months, we have all been drowning in this quicksand of TV ads, debate watch parties, emails, phone calls and political commentary. In an effort, to sway us across one political party, to another. With just days to go, it’s becoming extremely harder to decode every lie, half-truth and five-point plan to really get a clear understanding of who’s in your corner.

I won’t pretend as if I have no idea what candidate I’m selecting in November but what I will say is that my decision was not easy. Which is why I think its important to remember is that this election, as selfishly as we would like to think, is not JUST about you or your family but rather about a whole country of people who like your, want to take advantage of the very principles that this country was found on.

LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS!

They are your neighbors, classmates, coworkers, friends, and the men and women who pick up your trash and do your dry-cleaning. So even though your vote is a very personal decision, it’s a decision which could impact everyone around you.

Now my job isn’t to tell you who to vote for but rather to tell you, how I went about selecting a candidate that wouldn’t just represent my interest but also the interest of the country I care deeply about.

So….. here’s my guide for how to make the big decision.

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A Summer to Die For: Country Held at Gunpoint #PutTheGunsDown:

Days like these, with the feel of sweat rolling down your back.

The sound of Mr. Softie playing in the background and little kids playing hop scotch on cracked pavements; unaware of the danger that may be lurking behind every corner, sidewalk and alley way

Then out of nowhere, without warning or justification, bullets are flying in every direction. Marking an unsuspected victim for death.

Jump ropes are dropped in mid-swing, basketballs are left to roll into oncoming traffic and the only sound left is the pinching cries of a mother holding her baby, as she becomes just another victim of violence.

Stories like those are happening every single day in America, where young people are dying before they are even old enough to vote. Where the price of leaving your home, may mean death. So summer days like these are exterminating our youth, many of who are lacking for opportunities and safe places to play.

We lose more Americans to violence on our own city streets, than on the battlegrounds of war. We have made kid soldiers out of our youth, criminals out of the disadvantaged and funeral attendees out of us all.

Guns are becoming more accessible than textbooks and supermarkets. Yet we continue to serve them up to the unfit and unqualified, which are resulting in mass murders and mass shootings.

Have we not learned anything since the hundreds of victims we have lost since Tucson or the hundreds of thousands we’ve lost prior to?

The body count continues.

Gravesites don’t lie and bullets end lives.

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What it Takes to get my Vote in 2012

April 30, 2012 Front Page No Comments

In 2008, there was so much excitement surrounding the presidential election that it was contagious. For many, like myself, it would be one of our first opportunities to vote for the United States’ highest office… President. As a 20-year-old, who just started my second semester in college, it turned into one of the biggest moments of my life.

There was not only a black man in the race but also a woman, who both represented many of the issues I care about. But a lot has changed since that time of staying up late to hand out flyers and giving up my weekends to canvass.

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Will we ever reach the promise land?

April 5, 2012 Front Page No Comments

In the midst of such political and social turmoil, with a country divided by the far right and the 99 percent, where the young are disenfranchised and used for target practices; I find myself wondering will Dr. Martin Luther King’s prediction of a promise land ever come to fruition. Will there ever be a time when we are not separated by our differences but united by our common interest?

So as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, 44 years after his assassination, we must ask ourselves: would he say we have made progress or would he say, we have become too comfortable with the status quo?

With an election of our first black president, have we allowed for society to pull the wool over our eyes, to make us think that the promise land is near? Did it make us think that change has come, but really we have only taken two steps forward to be pushed 10 steps back?

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