That could have been me.
Despite the fact that it would have had to have been six years ago, I don't live in Chicago, and I'm not a male. Oh yeah, and I never walked home from school.
But despite all those factors, it could have easily been me.
Black honor student with plenty of promise--gone. Way before his time.
Beat to death by some fucking hooligans with a plank, no shame, no control, no care for anything.
Derrion Albert was 16 years old... and by all accounts, a sweet young man. An honor student. And he was killed because he was trying to walk home from school. The most typical daytime activity in the universe.
I don't think you understand how serious it is that a group of CHILDREN... a group of young kids, barely old enough to make their own decisions, beat this fellow young man to death. Like Michael Baisden said on the radio this afternoon, there are people who are not loving these children enough... who are not paying these children enough attention. The fact that these kids are running wild, joining gangs, taking peoples' LIVES?! It's too much.
It's because no one cares anymore. Even the fucking Mayor of Chicago couldn't delay what he was doing to focus on this problem... he decided that trying to get the Olympics was more important... but he did issue a statement. The family that lost this bright young person don't give a fuck about a damn statement from a man who probably doesn't even give a fuck in the first place.
It's so disturbing to me, I'm indignant writing this. I didn't know this young man, I don't have family in Chicago, and I'm miles removed from the situation, but I care. Someone has to care. Someone. I know I'm not alone, but I do care. I may have started working with children by a mere "coincidence," but I know I was put in my position to keep moving further and further up the ranks... not so I can show off my position or how high I've escalated, but because someone needs to care. Someone needs to be in place who cares.
The media thinks they are doing their part by showing the clip of Derrion being beat to death--that doesn't do shit, but make my stomach turn. The clip was helpful to authorities, but I don't want to see it repeated on every news show... so the announcers can ruminate on "how much a tragedy" this is, and then go on to talking about fucking Jon & Kate Plus 8. (or, excuse me, Kate Plus 8.)
These kids--especially the hooligans who obviously know they have control of the streets, because, excuse me, where were the adults? Any adults? Anyone?--need to know that they are valuable. They need to know that they are beautiful. They need to know that they are intelligent, and that they have promise, and that someone in this world is here for them. They need to know their worth. They need to know that no one defines them, that no one else's words can create their self-esteem. They need their fucking parents, who are probably still concerned with the same childish things they were when they created the kids (you know, things like the new Plies album or the biggest rims on the biggest car with the most televisions in it) to step up. They need their parents to read with them. They need their parents to care about where they are and what they are doing. They need their parents to be fucking parents, instead of just organ donors. They need to know that even if their parents had an "accident" in making them, that they are here on Earth by no accident. And someone needs to tell them these things, because I know, I know that these gangs, and these grown men, and these streets are lying to them.
These streets are telling them that making fast money makes them valuable. That being able to sling dope makes them smart. These grown fucking men are telling these girls that letting him beat with no condom makes them women. That getting pregnant by him is the glory. These gangs are telling these boys that they will be surrogate fathers for them. These gangs are telling them that they will forever have a home... as long as they shoot to kill.
We are losing the kids. And I say we because even though I'm not that much older than the kids, I am taking responsibility. From here until I draw my last breath, I will always be out to help any child that I can. I just want them to know that they are gifted beyond measure. Beautiful beyond compare. Bright beyond luster. That their worth is invaluable.
I just want them to know that they are loved.
And if that can save at least one child, then it's worth everything.
R.I.P. Derrion Albert, and many others we've lost for no reason other than apathy.