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Death In Our African-American Communities

There are some concerns that have risen to the top of the forefront, that certainly many African American and Latino communities have had on their minds and questioned for sometime now: Why have predominantly minority communities and poorer neighborhoods not received the media coverage and outcry for the senseless slayings of their minority children?

One cannot possibly and probably will not ever be able to wrap their mind around the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six lives gone in a matter of minutes; twenty of them babies that did not have a chance to start really living. It is unfathomable to picture such a tragedy occurring to such little children.

As the news went far and wide; and the outcry heard across nations—the common question?—Why? Why did this happen? With only the ability to surmise what was on the gunman's mind by interviewing people about him and his family, searching family history and education, and the hard drive of a computer—the clear reason died with the gunman as he shot and killed himself.

Many have asked if this could have been prevented. The school did everything it was suppose to do. They followed protocol. Put in a safety system to identify all who come in or try to get in to the school. Horrifically, however, it was no match for the guns that the shooter had; who blasted his way through.

A top question in most discussions surrounds gun control. Should there be tighter laws governing the purchase and use of guns? Should there be a restriction on how many guns are purchased? A detailed study done a couple of years ago, cited that there were 270 million guns in American households alone. There are only 100 million people in America. So, this means that there is at least a firearm for every man, woman and child. (This is just from those registered.) The fact is: there is easy access to firearms in America. The gunman himself used his mother's firearms, who was said to be a gun enthusiast.

Another concern that is brought up in discussions is mental health. Are we doing enough to survey the mental health of individuals? Are they readily being denied the help that they seek, that would prevent such tragedies from occurring? In the past four years, four major shootings (that were reported) supposedly had mental health issues.

But for many African American and Latino communities, it hits even harder. For just this year alone, there has been a wave of killing that has taken out a number of innocent minority children all under the age of twenty. In Chicago alone, there has been approximately 270 children killed in the past three years, and the number continues to rise.

Many wonder: Where is the outcry for my children? Why is the conversation and media coverage concerning my Black and Brown children? When is there going to be rage and non-tolerance for the children in my community? When?

Newtown will stay on the hearts and minds of every person; but no more than on the minds of those African American and Latino communities that fight the fight everyday, and kiss their children and pray that when they walk to school, or stand on their front step, that they will make it home safe for another day.

President Obama stated in his press conference: “As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

In his most recent press conference on gun control: “...We may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened. We do know that every day since, more Americans have died of gun violence. We know such violence has terrible consequences for our society. And if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try...We're going to need to look more closely at a culture that all-too-often glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take, must begin inside the home and inside our hearts.”

The death toll in African American and Latino communities have been on a steady rise. Parents feel overwhelmed, helpless, ignored, and angry. Someone asked the question: Do you think if there would have been more outcry and concern for what has taken place in our communities; maybe Newtown could have been prevented?

No one knows that for sure. But perhaps, in light of this horrific tragedy, some good will come. That, the twenty-six lives that rest in peace, will have not died in vain, but to help make a change and start a dialogue that was so desperately needed.

In Remembrance of the precious twenty-six lives at Newtown:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto,27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6


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