Justice or Just Us


The recent shootings in Parkland, Florida were horrific. Anytime a child dies in America or anywhere else in the world, we should all pause, reflect, consider, and ultimately change. However, that clearly isn’t being done. On that horrible day, parents sent their children to school believing that they would come home later on that afternoon. Sadly, some didn’t. As the nation mourns, the discussion of gun violence and access to guns is once again a hot political topic. Donald Trump met with survivors from Parkland, Florida, Sandy Hook, and Columbine about their feelings and vision for change. I listened. I sympathized. I empathized, and I pondered. During this much needed and powerful meeting, I couldn’t help but feel that there is a distinct difference between justice and “just us.” Last year, there were 343 murders in Baltimore. Last year, there were 650 murders in Chicago. During the 1990s, there were 1,094 murders in Los Angeles in one year. The one common factor that exists amongst the above mentioned statistics is that most of those victims were minorities. You see, I personally feel that America doesn’t see the death or demise of minority children and people as a cause to change anything. When our children die, it seems that America not only turns a blind eye, but also a deaf ear to our cries. Therefore, I will speak. As an educator in a major metropolitan city, I have first hand experience and access to students who are required to walk past the outlines of their dead relatives who were murdered in their neighborhoods. The sad reality is that America not only doesn’t see them, but to some degree, it feels like there is no compassion. These children are told they should “move past it.” How can they? While I don’t have access to any data at this time, I personally believe that many of these children are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Yet, there is no therapy, support, or encouragement for them. Their schools are failing. Their teachers or overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated. This is their reality. Our children have been so disenfranchised that many of them aren’t even aware of what’s happening to them. America owes us. This is one of the richest countries in the world because it was partially built for free. America owes us. Today, I am both frustrated and infuriated over the clear neglect of our children. While the media won’t say it, the shooter in Florida was a homegrown terrorist. The shooter in Vegas was a homegrown terrorist. Sure, mental illness did play a part, but at the end of the day, they committed acts of terrorism. For centuries, minorities in this Country have been terrorized, and it seems that no one seems to care. There seems to be no justice for us. With that being said, it is time that we become our own solution. It is time for us to raise our voices. It is time for us to demand change. As an educator, the thought of taking a gun to school makes me physically sick. Who am I kidding? As a Black Man, if a cop stopped me and realized that I had a gun in my car, my life could probably end right there because he was afraid. My truth of the matter is that Donald Trump isn’t thinking about me or my community. It seems that no one is. We have an epidemic going on in this Country right now, and our children are dying. We need to demand better for our children today and tomorrow. “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” However, life has taught me that some people are more equal than others. If we wait for justice, it will continue to be “just us.” We need change today. We can’t afford to lose another child while politicians stand by and protect their own interests and bottom lines. We need justice today. We need justice now! As always, this week do something to help someone else without expecting anything in return. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Dr. King once said, “the measure of a man is not where he stands during times of comfort or ease, but where he stands during times of challenge and adversity.” Where do you stand? Me, I stand on the side of justice for all, not just some. I pray you do too. Patrick

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