Every year around this time, I write a column asking people to talk with their young people about current issues. Last year in 2015, the issue was about the movie Chi-Raq (ain’t we all glad that piece of garbage was a commercial failure?) and how just three weeks prior to its premiere, Tyshawn Lee, age 9, was stalked and killed. One would think that the “shock and awe” response from the black community regarding a little boy being executed at point-blank range would have put a serious dent in the murder spree in Chicago. Not surprisingly, it didn’t happen.
The major reason I write to the young people at this time of the year is that for far too many families, it’s the one time everyone gets together and sits down to eat a meal as a family unit. Modernization has taken away many cultural aspects and for a lot of Americans, family dinner time is non-existent except around the holidays.
Sadly, violence is again on the table as a subject for conversation. The news that filled this past weekend, regarding the murder of Congressman Danny K. Davis’ grandson, Javon Wilson at the hands of the two alleged killers, Tariq Harris, 16, and Diajae Banks, 17, is just another sad reminder of young males being murdered at the hands of other young people. Does it make a difference that this latest victim of the senseless violence was the grandson of an elected official? Yes and no. “Yes” because his grandfather can and is using his grandson’s death to speak out from his bully pulpit. At this time and under these devastating circumstances, Congressman Davis has the political capital to get some needed things done. In several interviews I saw over the internet, he has spoken out about gun laws. But at the same time “No” because the loss of any life is tragic.
As families gather for the holidays, hopefully someone will initiate the conversation about guns and the inappropriate use of deadly force. The two alleged killers of Congressman Davis’ grandson Javon were known within hours of the murder. The killing of Javon was allegedly sparked by a dispute about some “Made in China” gym shoes that cost pennies to manufacture and hundreds of dollars to purchase.
In an interview, the mother of Diajae Banks professed her daughter’s innocence. Yet the laws dictate, and they have been on the books for a long time, that one does not have to be the individual who pulled the trigger to be held accountable once said trigger was pulled. Just being there can make one as guilty as the actual killer.
In all the new stories I watched, Congressman Davis has displayed a remarkable façade in light of what happened to his grandson. I don’t know if I would have that kind of fortitude to face the public after such a horrendous act.
So as families gather on Thanksgiving Day, please have a responsible matriarch or patriarch speak up about the loss of life that can occur when young people carry weapons and don’t think twice about using them. Tell your young people the truth. If they go to jail, they may have to be there as the money is funny and paying unexpected attorney fees isn’t on the agenda. Speak with them about this latest incidence because if Black Lives Matter, it has to start with us.