This morning I heard a news headline from October about a young student and football player who was killed in New York by a white officer. The officer shot rounds into his car, fatally injuring him and injuring his passenger, another young, Black man. According to eyewitnesses, the attack was not as officers have reported it- in self-defense- and this young man is dead. This was my first time hearing the tragedy and my heart lept into my throat as tears spilled down my face. There was a churning in my stomach as I looked into the rear-view mirror at Diallo’s sweet face.
I have always felt pain when a mother somewhere loses her son, but it is right below the surface for me now as a single mother of a Black son. I know that this country has still not come close to rectifying its hatred for Black men- the younger and more vibrant, the stronger the disdain.
We need to resurrect the Village y’all and we need to start raising some hell. I know the Village isn’t gone but it has been pillaged and under attack. I/We need everyone’s help to rebuild. I am asking everyone to re-engage. Now I know we get frustrated, overwhelmed and preoccupied with our own problems/lives. But guess what, this is OUR problem and OUR life. Sometimes even I lose sight of the Village but we can’t afford that. There are too many of our boys- and girls- losing their lives and futures because they did not have a Village to rally and protect them.
When I see young men in my neighborhood on the corner, walking down the street, I look them in the eye and speak rather than clutch my purse. I have had people tell me I’m crazy, that I need to be careful. Guess what, if I’m gonna “go” then let it be while I was trying to show respect and love to one of our sons.
I don’t have the answers, but I know that when there is a family or support system lifting up a child, those who enter their lives understand that they will be held accountable. Let’s become that village. Become be a Big Brother, mentor, tutor, concerned family member, Godfather, cousin, elder. Donate some money to some organization that is doin’ it for our youth/boys and needs it. Be an advocate – go to those school board and city council meetings; know what’s going on in your community and city. Become a “mother bear” and fight for these cubs!
I want to give a shout out to some Village elders who are putting in work: Monica Haslip of Little Black Pearl in Chicago, Geoffrey Canada of Harlem’s Children Zone in Harlem, Tim King of Urban Prep Academy in Chicago (I am noticing that all these people are linked to education- that’s the topic for a future post). Please shout out others in your comments.
As a single mom, I will be counting on the village. I am rebuilding, please join me…do it for our children.