When The Streets Take One Of Your Own

When The Streets Take One Of Your Own

You’ve seen it on the news, the stories of violence. Young black men killed in the streets, families broken up and it keeps happening over and over.

Now imagine that it happens to one of your relatives.

I just got back from Detroit from helping bury my cousin, senselessly killed and that’s when this becomes more than just a story but it becomes personal.

I cried for a week over his loss, the children he left behind, his grieving mother, his brother searching for the right words to say.

His friends had a “candlelight vigil” for him the night before his funeral, his brother says he got goosebumps at the outpouring of support.

I made it in town for the funeral, there was not enough room in the small church for all of the people wanting to pay their respects. Some real tough cats showed up grieving as well, at least a half a dozen people had t-shirts made with my cousin’s image on them, honoring his life.

You see that on TV when they talk about people killed in the hood and you feel for them but its nothing like until you are “them”.

Thinking of our loved one who isn’t here anymore, his life taken.

How many young black men have to die?

How many families have to go through this?

The minister said at the service he’s tired of having these funerals.

In the last 24 years, this is the fourth young black man I know that was killed and the second that I was related to.

I feel like as a black man we are endangered species and being picked off one by one and its at the hands of our own.

Hell with the “Black Lives Matter” against the police, what about each other?

This hate that roams our streets, the violence that defines cities like Detroit or my hometown of Chicago and people write it off as “this is how it is”.

Don’t our lives mean anything?

Yes people make choices that have consequences.

But I feel like I’m only here by the grace of God, I can think of two situations where I could have been in a box like my cousin.

I feel guilt that I’ve made it to 40 years old and he never will.

I’m no better than he was, I’m not a perfect man and neither was he.

He was such a charming and positive and giving brotha. He drove from Detroit two years ago to help me when my father died, that’s him in the middle of the pictures between me and a long time friend.

He also came here to celebrate our families reunion three years ago, we had a great dinner, he was at my table with his son, our mothers, my wife and we laughed, ate and shared jokes.

That won’t happen with him again.

You hear people often cry out “When will it stop” in speaking of losing a loved one to violence.

And now I cry out with them.

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