Troy Pearson, 15, was killed during the commission of an alleged carjacking attempt. His crew was in a stolen vehicle when they attempted to steal a Chevy Impala. The driver of the Chevy was armed and during the getaway, the bullet-ridden stolen vehicle they were using to attempt to steal the Chevy crashed.
Now, the majority of these young carjackers don’t die during the commission of their wayward activities, but floating over the internet are police rap sheets of young Black boys and girls who have been arrested multiple times for carjacking. Each time as juveniles, they are released back into society and into the same environments where they repeat the behavior and continue doing what got them arrested to begin with.
When I initially read the news reports about how Troy died, I smiled. I’m not going to lie. I was glad. I felt he got what he deserved. I went to his Facebook page, and there he was holding a gun pointed at the camera. He was displaying what far too many of our young people do. A false bravado, because that is what the world he existed in expected/accepted of him. Nobody critiqued him. His behavior was considered normal.
As I read through all the things he had posted, my feelings about his death slowly began to change. I saw him as a person and not just a news story. He wasn’t lost, just misdirected and as an elder in the village, my voice needs to resonate about saving our children by any means necessary.
We must demand the kind of juvenile justice system that gives these children a realistic second chance — a system that actually works and not becomes an endless cycle of the same insanity going on over and over and over again.
Where is Black leadership on this growing problem of juveniles carjacking cars? We have so many problems that it’s hard to find one that becomes the top priority, because others pop up that seem even more pressing. But our youth are our future. We can’t just throw them away and expect them to become the productive citizens that we need.
I still advocate for accountability out of their parents. There are responsibilities that come from giving birth to a child that requires parents to be held accountable. If we are to be a village, then, as villagers, we must begin to voice our concerns.
Some children will need to be removed from their environments. That’s the reality. Others, if they can remain in the home, will need constant monitoring by social services. The monetary investment we put in our children now will pay off in the future. We need a nationwide service organization that can take in some of these children and place them far away from the environment that they are accustomed to, in order for them to have the opportunity to become the individuals that they can be.
In order for any of this to occur, we must all begin to speak up. And for once, I am proud that looking at social media, there’s a lot of black folk talking about this. But besides talk, we need actions. What role will you play in helping to ensure that our young people have all the opportunities that we had available to them?