“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout:
This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me… or leave me. Accept me - or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision.
When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad - you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.”—Stacey Charter
We ALL play a part” is something a good friend says to me whenever we see people doing things that sooner or later are going to either kill them or land them in jail. For example, the young men in my neighborhood who find it necessary to ride their loud dirt bike motorcycles, on one wheel, with no helmet for multiple blocks. Dumb.
We ALL play a part….
A few weeks ago, a 3 year old boy in the Bed Stuy section of Brooklyn was playing in a playground with his friends when two young men decided to have a gun fight. Caught in the crossfire, the young boy was shot. Miraculously, he was not killed. The same cannot be said however for a 4 year old boy in the Soundview section of the Bronx. A few days ago, his mother took him to a charity basketball game dubbed the First Annual Ghetto Angels (This alone says volumes…but I digress) Basketball Tournament in honor of a young lady who, ironically, had been stabbed to death a year ago. Again, two young men decided to have a gunfight. Again, a child found himself caught in the crossfire and again, a little boy was shot; this time fatally.
You will not find a bigger defender of the 2nd Amendment than me. The reason why is because I just feel like we can’t assemble freely and peacefully without the police showing up with billy clubs and guns. Further, I don’t want to be disarmed in a country that spends nearly 7 billion dollars on “defense”. To me, that’s dangerous.
You will not find a bigger critic of the ”stop and frisk” policy meted out in my home city of New York. The reason why is because I feel it’s a bad way to police a neighborhood. To me, the policy is nothing more than guesswork. Further, I feel like it is a violates the 4th Amendment which protects “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, and clearly ends with shall not be violated …” If “Stop and Frisk” doesn’t completely ignore all of that, I don’t know what does. Having said that….
We ALL play a part….
We cannot tolerate senseless violence and behavior in our communities. That the mother of the boy in Soundview who was shot and killed was still trying to find out who killed her 4 year old boy days later is a travesty. It is the height of ignorance and indifference to human life for ANY neighborhood to adopt a code of silence and an attitude of apathy in the wake of such a killing. We cannot scream racism, bigotry, and police brutality when we are not out in front against violence in our communities. We cannot say anything to anyone when we fight harder to protect drug dealers and so-called gangsters than we do our children, elders, hell, ourselves. We lose all credibility in the eyes of the world when we allow the justice system to become the parents of our children.
We ALL play a part….
Some people have said to me that this is the reality of “life in the hood” and that it is never going to change. That the violence and ill-behavior you see is a result of poor people with a sense of hopelessness. That’s BS. We KNOW better. The challenge is stop being so damn scared to DO and DEMAND BETTER. It was not always this way. There was a time when poverty was greater than it is today and yet our teenagers did not walk around the streets with handguns. Perhaps we should be reminded what the definition of Community is…a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society. That’s us, that’s where we live and we have got to play a GREATER part in our communities to ensure they function in our favor and that those who would attack the very freedoms we hold so dear do not have a leg to stand on.
Alive Soul Note: This is a repost from yesterday…as it was mistakenly deleted. -T
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime”— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know, Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spirtually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”—from Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Sallinger