Gun violence has always been an issue in our communities. You would never think that it would hit so close to home though. Reality starts to set in when the shootings are 5-10 minutes away from your home. Northwestern University and my own hometown, Evanston, IL have been invaded by nameless gunshots. A dark cloud hovers over the town raining with grief and sadness.
I want to pay my respects to a boy who wasn’t able to fully experience life. Dajae Coleman was killed on September 22, 2012, an innocent bystander to a drive by shooting. The bullet never had his name on it. Another life gone because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dajae was an honor roll student and entered the high school as an athlete. His goals and dreams were cut short due to tragedy. Evanston residents began trending this incident (#DaeDaeWorld) and great celebrities like Lebron James, Russell Simmons, and more recognized him and this horrifying incident. It was great to see a negative situation turned into a positive one by bringing the local and national community together.
Bringing together a community shouldn’t stop there! We have to do a lot more to protect our own community. Education is always key, but how do we implement a safe environment? I suggest opening up more recreation centers. This can prevent the youth from hanging out in the streets and getting into mischievous things. We need more mentors to talk and organize activities with our youth. There’s so much we can do.
Being away from home is hard for me to become a mentor in my hometown. While I am in Columbia, MO, I will become a positive role model for the youth in this community. And Embracing Amara (an organization I just joined) is an example of an organization trying to guide our youth. As I mature, my eyes have opened up to much more than having fun. Responsibility has become a priority. I want to make sure that I am an individual who not only fulfill dreams; but influence youth in a positive manner.
The time is now to act towards our future. And our youth will be here to apply any teachings that we have passed on. So get out and do something positive. My 4-year-old niece is my heart and priority and I want her to live out her dreams to the fullest without any harm coming into play. Think about your own relatives or juveniles that you hold dear to your heart. Like anyone else, you would want the best for him or her! We can’t always stop danger but if more people find time to encourage positive behaviors in our communities then there will be less danger to face.
With that being said, WAKE UP PEOPLE!
Please respond to this post expressing your concerns and thoughts.