Mourning Our Fallen

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  • This weekend the country was once again forced to deal with the kind of violence normally reserved for the screens of a motion picture tragedy. James E. Holmes walked into a movie theater, wounding 58 and killing 12 and shocking a nation. The response has to this tragedy has been filled with the human empathy that should be extended to loved ones and a community that has suffered not only an attack on its people, but on its sense of safety and security. From Columbine to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to this latest shooting, the cries of those hit by the bullets of crazed gunmen move our nation to want to make communities feel safe. And we should do all we can to make communities safe.

    My problem is that we create a national pause for certain types of tragic loss of life but ignore others. I know that a few weeks ago I talked about us standing for Chicago, but this is not just about Chicago. This is about how we value our own lives; the lives of urban children, women and men, who many a night are trying to enjoy their communities; not at a theatre, but on their porches, playing in the streets or simply coming home from work. Why is there not national pause for them? Why not media attention on the families of those who fall daily? I don't blame the media for lifting the names of the fallen men, women, and children who were savagely taken by Holmes violent attack. I don't even blame the politicians and commentators for finding space to lift gun policy back into the front row for discussion. I just keep wondering; who will cry for us, go hard for us, defend us.

    I wrote a piece for ebony.com that I hope you would check out that asks what happened to the uniformed, recognized, and trained groups of men who stood on the front lines in the past. It was never the majority of men, but the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, The Nation of Islam, even the Guardian Angles, all were visible forces that served notice to threats from the outside and within. This is only one solution, but there are many. And even as some of you ask why are we talking about this again, I ask you did they morn for your children the way they are in Colorado? Did the nation say…."WE HAVE TO STOP THIS" when your brother fell? I morn for the members of the human family we lost in Colorado, the same as I did Trayvon, the same as I do those who fell in Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore and your city last night. But the world doesn't. James Baldwin said that "not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." We are living in a crisis of violence in silence. And I, for one, will keep yelling until more of us wake up.
     

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    7 thoughts on “Mourning Our Fallen

    1. I can look back on history, 1970 to be exact. America had conniption fits when four white students were gunned down by National Guard troops at Kent State on May 4, 1970. America had zero fits when two young black men were gunned down on that college campus in Mississippi 10 days later….May 14, 1970. Devaluation of Black lives did not just suddenly start in Chicago and they happened even prior to both of these shootings when Blacks went at each other on Friday or Saturday night with a straight razor, knife or a gun. Check out the newspaper archives for weekend activity.

    2. ” I just keep wondering; who will cry for us, go hard for us, defend us.”
      Well, while you’re wondering, Pastor Corey Brooks, who spent this past Chicago winter, camped on a rooftop. Is as I write this, “WALKING” across America to bring awareness and raise money to combat the homicides in our communities. If we give him the publicity he/we deserves, maybe things could look different. If we acknowledge and support those who are working in the trenches right now (and they are there) perhaps things could move along a little better. It’s ok to be aware of what people are not doing but we need to give our full support to those who are doing.

    3. You are right, but the fact that more of us aren’t aware is exactly my point. And the reality is that most of us don’t want to be aware. Why are more of us aware of what happened on garbage shows like Basketball Wives and RHOA than what Pastor Brooks is doing? In my city, the african-american woman who runs the county minority community business development dept has been arrested on fraud for taking kickbacks from contracts that she approved that were meant to help minority small business owners apply for county/city contracts. That’s all over the news…but no one reported on the black men who held a shoe drive for the homeless, not even our so-called black media. And the community did not support it like we should have. My point still remains, that if WE don’t look in the mirror and change our ways, collectively, and take responsibility for ourselves and our community…we will continue to fill up the jails and die by each other’s hand. God Bless Pastor Brooks and what he is doing…it’s just so sad that he has to do this at all. Wake up my people…it’s time.

    4. Thank you for pointing out such a glaring truth that Jeff Johnson and too many others refuse to see. Once again, Jeff has pandered to the lowest common denominator of picking on mainstream media for the extensive coverage given to the most recent singular mass killing, but have nothing more than a quick blipi on the screen when yet another black male is killed at the hands of another black male.

      At this point, why should any of us care when those doing the most targeting and being targeted don’t care to??!! NEXT!

    5. Jeff, I whole-heartedly agree with your commentaries 95-99% of the time, but there I times like this where I have to respectfully disagree with you. This isn’t about media or gun control…this is about US not taking care of US. It shouldn’t take the Fruit of Islam or Guardian Angels to protect us in our own neighborhoods, but the reality is that WE have turned our back on US as a community and have instead adopted the me-me, I-I way of life. Whose fault is it that our girls are having multiple babies by multiple “baby daddies” it’s OUR FAULT. Whose fault is it our boys are selling drugs, running in gangs and killing each other, it’s OUR FAULT. Our ancestors started out with nothing but pride. They created families and built communities based on having pride in what they had and what they wanted to have. Our people bled and died to have the education that the last 2 generations of black children have dismissed. You can spot the “hood” in any metro city because WE don’t take care of what we have or where we live. We have no PRIDE in ourselves, our bodies or our communites. We have no respect for our Elders so why does it seem so incredulous that our young people are killing each other and innocent bystanders. When drug dealers/ballers and strippers are what our young people aspire to be (and a lot of them do) we have failed as parents and as a community. Until WE stop blaming everyone else for our issues and start looking in the mirror at ourselves, we are doomed to repeat the cycle. Wake up my people…it’s time.

    6. Thankz fam for your courage to speak. i am an African American woman and i get frustrated watching my leaders/ my Kings witness this in silence. It makes me feel uncovered spiritually, mentally and definitely physically to the point i daydream about the possibility of dating outside my culture but i realize the disproportionate amount who still are not used to diversity and i want to support my own kind but i gets so hard when our men allow themselves to be used as perpetrators in their own community. You are not alone though.

    7. Thankz fam for your courage to speak. i am an African American woman and i get frustrated watching my leaders/ my Kings witness this in silence. It makes me feel uncovered spiritually, mentally and definitely physically to the point i daydream about the possibility of dating outside my culture but i realize the disproportionate amount who still are not used to diversity and i want to support my own kind but i gets so hard when our men allow themselves to be used as perpetrators in their own community. You are not alone though.

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