Looking in the Mirror

Spiritual Revelations for those seeking Humanity in Humans ~~CordieB.

Archive for youth

Northeastern Report Shows Surge (40%) in Homicides Involving Young Black Males and Guns

Rest In Peace David E. Boyd Jr. David E. Boyd was a quiet man who worked hard at his job and enjoyed sketching portaits and writing rap lyrics. David was shot and killed while walking home on Sunday in the Church Hill area of Richmond, Virginia. David was on the cell phone with his girlfriend, as he was killed. Police suspect robbery as the motive for this sensless murder.

A new report issued by experts at Northeastern University on patterns and trends in homicide since 2000 shows that, despite the small fluctuations in overall homicide rates, there has been a dramatic surge (40%) in homicides involving young black males with guns. The findings paint a very different picture concerning recent trends in murder from the apparent tranquility suggested by overall statistics released by the FBI.  More…
 

Duh…  Everyone is in shock of this new study!  I for one am not in shock.   I see and live with it every day.  I write about it all the time.  If we don’t start investing in our youth, we are headed for self genicide…at an alarming rate.  In recent months, I’ve written about the crack epidemic of the 80’s  which damn near destroyed a whole generation; the deaths of Jamal, Erika and 14 year old, Deshaun.    There are countless others whom I have not written about. . . yet my thoughts of the senseless violence remain heavy on my heart. 

This study reflects what many inner city residents have been crying about for the past 10 years.   It’s ok to cry, it’s alright to complain. .. but all the crying and complaining is not going to make the least bit of change!  We have to start working proactively to save our black youth.  Our black youth are killing and maiming each other at alarming rates!  The coldness in the eyes of some of these young men bring a chill to my bones.  I talk with them; I walk with them. . . but the hardest thing for me to do is to reach them.    A collaborative effort is needed to put life back into the hearts of many of our young black men.    It will take family, community and government intervention.   You may not be affected by the violence at this time, but at this rate–the spillage of violence will reach you very soon. 

I challenge everyone reading this to take the time to talk to that young man on the corner.  Offer another view of life than the one he has doomed himself to living.  Take the time to show compassion to that young man whose mother is “out there.”  Take the time to show some compassion to the mother, herself.  Take some time to talk to a young couple about remaining active in the roles of their children.

I challenge all of us to take a proactive stance in turning this murderous trend downward.    If we don’t take a stance, no one will do it for us.  Trust me!

Rembember. . . next time the call could be about one of your very own. . . an innocent bystander… or not…

–We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

–Peace, Light and Love. . . CordieB.

The Grief Process

This was very hard to write for me; as there is no greater loss that I can imagine than that of the loss of a child. Yet it happens; more often than we want to admit . . .So often people guilty because they are told they must move on . . . yet healing requires grief and time. Those who intend to bring comfort must understand these cycles too. So I write this for anyone who may be going through such despair. . . and I pray that you find joy one sweet day. . .

 
There are five stages of grief; and most people experience grief in the order stated below. . .

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance

Grief’s Cycle …By CordieB

I don’t believe what’s happening;

Surely this can not be real

I’ll awaken from this nightmare soon

I’ll see, I’ll touch, I’ll feel . . .

your loving eyes; your tender heart

You..are still here! No!

We are not apart!

Oh God why did you take my love….

Such a loving soul was he

If you were such a loving God

Why allow such tragedy?

This world is filled with such despair

What does it mean, who really cares?

There are no answers to eternity

If only you would just take me…

instead; I’d rather be the one –

Please take me God, release my son…

Just leave me be. . . let me be free

Into my solo destiny

Alone ..through misty haze I see – and want to be

No desire to communicate –

I’ve lost my will; such is my fate…

Why is it that he had to die?

I plead, I beg, I must know why…

My heart’s so cold; ice cycled blood I cry . . .

Such agony; I hate- despise…

I can not pray . . my heart still cries

I can’t imagine going on . . .

without my loving, caring son . . .

Time passes by; seems like a distant dream

I cry sometimes….

yes, with time …the sadness weans

and with each day as life goes on…

Your love; it helps me carry on

I miss you still, so much – yet I fear

I’ll lose your vision through the years. . .

Yet memories remain so rich and clear

I feel your love down in my soul

Memories bring me comfort; love keeps me whole

My God holds me each day, each hour

So wondrous is God’s healing power

I don’t have answers to this life . . .

Yet live I must, through peace or strife

as death’s essential to all life

And though I do not understand

I see a glimpse of life again

And I feel so blessed to be the one…

you chose to be your mother, Son.

~Written for Valeria Harrison, Mother of Jamal, for which I wrote an article recently, entitled Lessons from the Hood – Perhaps you can find it; I’m tired ."   Valeria read that post . . . and commented. . . .let us keep her in our prayers and pray that men will lay their weapons down!

Reach Out, Cheer Up

This original blog entry was made on January 22, 2008.  It’s been now less than a year later and wow! – the person I was soliciting cheers for dreams are really coming true! I’m reposting this as a reminder of the wise saying. . . "This Too Shall Pass."    My friend, Sanity Found , was in the dump for weeks back in January 2008 – I had began to really worry about her.  I called upon your support to visit her blog and give her some cheer.  I remember that some of you did, Hayden , over there at the new "Through the Illusion" for one!  Ambe r, although she was not reading my blog at the time, kept a close eye on my young friend.   Folks!  our bubling burst of optimism, Sanity Found was really down for a few.  It was starting to scare me; and I really didn’t even know her – for real.    It’s been almost a year, and all of us have learned so much about life and many of us have become friends!  Many of you have seen the ups and downs I’ve been through and I’ve seen yours too!   So, people, here is living proof that just because life seems like it’s never fair today -never, ever give up.  Everything and all circumstances change.  And yes, This too Shall Pass !  Blessings to all.  All verbiage below are from the original posting.   God Bless. . .

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My friend SanityFound’s Rambling  has been in the dumps lately due to not being able to get a work visa for the UK.   Her sadness has gone on for quite a while.   Please drop her some encouragement or some good advice to get her jump started.   This is her picture for which she describes herself without words.   Such a young person should not let obstacles immobilize her.  But such is the mind oftentimes of the young and the not so young.  I’ve been there too.  In any event, give her a shout out! to help her regain her strength, courage, and wisdom.  Her blogg can be found at http://sanityfound.wordpress.com/

Sanity Found

Sanity Found’s list of Maybe’s are beautiful, mind provoking,  and inspiring.  Here’s a few to ponder. . .

Maybe. . we were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Maybe . . . when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but, often times, we look so long at the closed door that we don’t even see the new one which has been opened for us.

Maybe . . . it is true that we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Maybe . . . the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Maybe . . . the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you can’t go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.

To read the entire collection of these inspirational "maybes" by Sanity Found’s Rambling, visit http://sanityfound.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/maybe/

Peace, Light and Love to You and Yours,

CordieB.

We Don’t Care

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qWosJEFHIQ

Hello beautiful people.  As you know, every so often I write about the violence that is occuring in my beautiful city – and often times the violence hits pretty close to home.  Well this weekend was no better.  Three young people were killed in the Richmond area this weekend.  I don’t know the victims, but nevertheless – I am sad, I am mad, I am frightened.  Three mothers lost their sons this weekend; one of them lost her only son.  And for what?  What ever the reason was, it more than likely can’t be remembered today. 

A lot of the murders in this area are considered to be drug related; and they are I suppose–but when you really dig deeper, you will see something else.    You see, the individuals who commit these murders are not addicts – they do not use drugs.   The young are killing and being killed for what they consider respect!  These are not drug addicts attacking for a hit.  These are young people who are obsessing on sharing a block; sending a message –feeling disrespected by words or actions–bottom line young people are being killed due to perceived disrespect.  

More young people are being killed today for "dissing" someone than for actual money or drugs.   Step on a shoe – bang bang; dance with someone’s girlfriend; bang bang!  walk in a neighborhod other than your own, bang, bang!

When did this mentality start in my community?  Most people don’t believe me, but I can almost point out the summer that this mentality started to brew in the hood. 

Back in 1985 when Crack Cocaine was prevalent in the North, I read a news article that Crack was coming to Virginia.  No one anticipated that this drug would destroy families, neighborhoods, and whole communities.  The children who are so easy to kill today are the children who were left to fend for themselves during the crack epidemic that hit our city. 

Most of these children were not left to another parent, or a neighbor or familiy member.  Since crack swept this city in epidemic proportions, there were few who cared any more than the addicted mother as all were equally addicted.    The few who were not were overly burdend with other’s children.  It was a very sad time in Richmond, VA.  I have countless numbers of friends who lost their homes, their families, damn near their soul to crack cocaine. 

For the first time in my life, I saw mothers willing to trick their chidlren; husbands and wives tricking in the same family,  people stealing from family.   I saw people loose $200,000 homes within 6 months;  I saw people who lived in $300,000 homes with no heat, air, or water.   I saw people rent their brand new cars to crack dealers for a small amount of crack; I saw people sign over their whole pay checks to a crack dealer at the end of the week – and start in the hole again! 

 I mean, people, I sawa behavior which I had never seen.  I would have bet a million a few months earler that it were not possible.  Most did not believe that the drug would be so addictive and take people to such lows.  Most believed they could use it recreationally, or at least control it like powdered cocaine.  All were sadly and many were deathly mistaken.

Now, during this time, many, many children were born to women addicted to crack cocaine.  Also, many of these women had children who were still young.  Now, crack makes one loose all sense of dignity – so what do you think became of these children.  They were left to fend for themselves most of the time.  Since whole neighborhoods were addicted, no one could really fix the problem.  The children who were left to fend for themselves saw, heard, and experienced a life of sorrow, distachment and hell.  They grew with little love and  few comforts.  They grew to have little respect for their mothers, let alone other people!  They watched their christmas toys be sold to crack dealers on Christmas Eve; they watched whole houses of furniture be sold, including their beds.  They grew up with a serious chip on their shoulders and I can’t blame them for having developed that chip.  

So, now it’s 2008.  This is the product which has been sowed.  How do we teach real respect to a generation who received so little respect at such impressionary ages?  How do we teach love to those who missed out on love by so many at a crucial time in their development.   The issues are really more complicated than most see from a distance.   Any ideas?  Oh, you’ve got to listen to Kanye’s video – this is what the kids are saying!

The Tables Turn, Turn, Turn

It’s not been the most pleasant of weeks.  Along with having a bad cold, I’m sadded that another young person was violently killed this weekend in Richmond.  . . . G’s cousin . . . beautiful person, Erica, only 21.  Although I’ve never met her, her smile and tributes from friends and love ones speak volumes of her soul.  The insanity of the violence among our youth is depressing to say the least. 

But today I simply want to share wise words from the Bible in memory of Erica . . . and all the young people who have lost their lives far too quickly in my human eyes. . . I also must remember . . .

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under the heavens:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck
up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a
time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a
time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to
refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. . .

Ecclesiastes 3:1

I ask, when will the time come for Peace!  Do we simply wait for the tables to turn or do we do something to promote it?   I feel that we must shift the paradigm of war and violence; it is time we started making positive steps to ensuring peace in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our world!   It all begins in the homes. . . we can control that little bit of our universe, don’t you think?  It will grow if enough seeds are planted.  Do the tables simply turn without our interference in any manner?  Will it all balance itself out in time?   Do we not have to sow in order to harvest?  Is not what we sow not what is harvested?  Continue being indifferent if we must, but one day our peace might be shattered . . .    Therefore, I must do something. . . .

Peace, Light and Love, CordieB.

I’m Tired! `Written by CordieB

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Deshun Taylor – 14 year olf killed while walking home – not the intended victim- an innocent life gone so soon!

I’m tired of living in the hood
Where gray is brain and red is blood
And children would leave if they could
And poor families are often misunderstood
I’m tired of seeing young folk roll in chairs
with wheels who can no longer climb the stairs
not because they were born with such disableness
but because they were shot; blessed to live no less
I’m tired of seeing mothers sobbing and crying
whild holding a child on the street that is dying
I’m tired of seeing fathers sigh
while cursing God and asking why
I’m tired of seeing brothers and sisters mad at the world; feeling defeat
because their brother’s been killed by their friend down the street
I’m tired of seeing whole neighborhoods in dispair in need of repair
And everyone talking but nobody’s walking the walk or showing they care
I’m tired of praying for an uneventful day
Instead of for real things, like people should pray
I’m tired of the fear to walk to the store
or call the police for fear of turf war;
for fear that my own children will bear consequence
of me aiding the law makers in stopping the noncense.
I’m tired of not having the words to say to a relative
whose lost her son and is trying to live on and forgive
I’m tired of not knowing just what to convey
to that parent at the funeral – tell me what would you say?
I’m tired of mothers and fathers not teaching their own
about life respect and those many seeds that should be sown
instead of street, drugs, disrespect and tit for tat
thinking thug is cute; in the drug game with wallets fat
I’m tired of parents loosing all control
of their own self-respect to their 12-year old
I’m tired of parents being too lazy, tired or scared to disipline
Or trying to be cool; you can’t be a parent and be his friend
Even a real friend tells a friend right from wrong
Not leave it up to him to find out on his own
I tell you! I am sick and damn tired
of young babies with babies who end up expired
before they are 20; oftentimes even younger
What happend to neighborhood unity; I wonder!
I’m tired of everyone scared to speak up
of the filth and the rubbish that is all down the block
In fear of that thug down the street with a glock
I’m tired of whispering a prayer of relief when I find
out the teen laying out on the street is not one of mine
I’m tired of no activities; no community centers
No movies or skatelands; no positive mentors
We’ve all dropped the ball on a whole generation
of young people who know no love from our nation
I’m tired of those who refuse to inconvience themself
for the benefit of the life of a child, inspite of themself
I’m tired of the talking papers, the reports and surveys
The crack and the smack and lean that causes brain decay
I’m tired of the empty prayers placed on the shelf
I’m tired of the hood; I’m tired of myself.
~Written by CordieB. 

Every Friday, I usually join my Photo Friday club;  This week’s theme is Unlucky .  I was simply too sick and tired to take a picture this week – besides, I couldn’t think of anything more unfortunate than the loss of a child – some call it unlucky – some call it fate – some call it God’s will.  My daughter’s neighbor’s child, who was only 14 year’s old was killed on Wednesday while walking home.  Word is that he was not the intended victim; an innocent bystander.  One of the bullets came through my daughter’s window, along with more bullets that came through other neighbor’s windows.  I’ts a blessing that no one else was hurt.  I’m whispering a prayer for the family of Deshun Taylor, I can feel his mothers grief.  I pray that she will be able to make it through this terrible time.  I’m whispering a prayer for all of us, although I’m sick and tired!    

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Update on Deshun Taylor’s case: 

All three suspects in the Wednesday killing of an East End seventh-grade middle school student have been arrested, a crowd mourning the death of the slain boy learned last night.

The mourners were gathered for a candlelight prayer vigil in the 2200 block of Fairfield Avenue, near where 14-year-old Deshun Taylor was felled by a bullet Wednesday about 2 p.m.

Alicia Rasin, an advocate for the families of homicide victims, announced shortly after 8 p.m. that interim Police Chief David McCoy just had told her the third suspect had been caught.  Read More . . .

More Posts and News

A few of Comments from Richmond Citizens

Vigil Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from the the Hood – – Lesson 1. You can always learn something from the neighborhood drunk

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New Years Eve, 2005

“You can always learn something from the neighborhood drunk”
~CordieB. 

I visited my sister yesteday.   When I walked in, I could sense something was wrong.  

She said, “I’ve got some bad news to tell you about Tu-Tu.” 

 Tu-Tu is her grandson; my great-nephew.  I sat down, feeling my heart flutter. 

I’m thinking, “Please don’t let Tu-Tu be hurt, be shot…..be dead . . .” 

A million ideas are running through my head. 

Finally, my sister says, “Tu-Tu is in jail.”  

Now, being that I have been accustomed to hearing much worst news in the “hood” I’m actually relieved at hearing this news.  I’m feeling a sense of relief.  Ahh.  .  .  . I can exhale.

I look at her in an evident display of relief and ask, “What’s he locked up for?” 

“He got caught with a gun,” she replied.  

“A gun, what’s he doing with a gun?”

“We don’t know how he got it.  He was pulled over while riding with a friend, and the police checked him, and found a gun.” 

My response, “Oh . . .”  

Now mind you, Tu-Tu is only 15 years old.  The same age as my son.  My next thoughts were, “Boy, I’m glad Sammy wasn’t hanging out with Tu-Tu.”  

During the next hour or two, everyone’s talking about the mechanics of the situation; how Tu-Tu’s best friend was killed about two months ago while walking down the street in broad day light, where Tu-Tu may have found the gun, or how he might have obtained the gun, and on and on.  

Soon, the conversation became slightly amusing to most of the people in the house.  Incidents of this nature have become like second nature; they don’t carry the seriousness that you would expect such bad news to carry, because it’s not as bad as it could be . . .  Events of this magnitude happen all too often, and we’ve become somewhat immune to it all.   We are used to hearing information much more dreadful; so this was like a drip in the bucket.  I’m serious.

Then, in the corner, neighborhood drunk Tyrone looks up at everyone and says, “Ya’ll are talking about this shit like it’s a f….king joke.”  “Ya’ll always pacifying that boy.”  “This sh..t ain’t no god damn joke.”   He starts cussing and giving Tu-Tu’s mother, sister and grandmother a piece of his mind.

Ok.  I’m thinking the same thing; but I wouldn’t dare say it.  Not to his grandmother and definitely not to his mother.  Especially, not after the damage is done.  What’s the point.  I should have said it a long time ago.   Tyrone has been saying it for a very long time, at least everytime he got drunk; and that’s damn near every day.

So, my sister gets really angry at Tyrone.  She tells him to get out of her house if he has to say anything bad about her grandson that she loves so much.  She screams, “You never liked him anyway.  Get the fu..ck out my house.”  

Ok, I’m thinking, “Somebody put some music on; let’s squash this shit.”

My daughter quickly puts on some music, and the conversation started to flow back to normal voice tones; everyones laughing and socializing like always.

Ok.  Today as I sat contemplating on calling my sister to ask her how the arraignment went, I’m thinking.  .  . .

You know,  Tyrone, the drunk, is a good, good friend to my sister.  We often times dismiss Tyrone the drunk, because he stays drunk so much.  But mind you, he may be a drunk, but he’s the only one, from family to friends, who has been speaking the truth to my sister. 

Everyone else has been hush hush about these types of situations.  We don’t want to cause any trouble–we don’t want to rock the boat; and we don’t want to start an argument.  But, had we stepped in some time ago and given some advice in a sober, caring and truthful manner, then Tu-Tu might be a free young man today. 

And so it’s like that so often in life; we keep closed mouth to that which we should speak up about–simply because the situation does not effect us directly, we are afraid, or we don’t want to get in other folks business.   We watch our neighborhoods go from sugar to shit, because it’s not our child, not right in our block, or we may even be afraid.  Or,  it only happens on the other side of town.  We watch our young people doomed for failure; but since it’s not our sons or daughters, we don’t bother to intervene.  Since it’s not happening right out side of our doors, we don’t stick our nose in it.  Sometimes we convince ourselves that we would be puting our lives at risk.  Or worst, we believe we can’t make a difference, so why bother.  What a shame. 

Shame on me.