I’m sure everyone has heard about the Sandy Elementary School shooting and before I continue this blog, I want to say that all of my love goes out to those affected and those who lost their lives, young and old alike and I hope everyone who reads anything about this horrific event does the same. Take a moment to realize how blessed you are in your life, especially if you have children who are safe at home with you now.
My Facebook exploded with messages mourning the loss of lives of children and teachers alike and even now, photos are coming out with captions and discussions about gun laws and metal health programs are appearing all over my social media. I think this is fantastic, we need change and unfortunately moments like these do bring people together because everyone understands the loss of someone they love and can understand the atrocity of taking a life, especially a child.
However this also saddens me and this is what I want to talk about. I want to point out first that I’m not making the tragedy the happened mean any less to people and this blog isn’t really about Sandy Elementary School specifically.
The reason it break my heart is because we have children dying every day and not from hunger or anything like that, they are shot. This year Heaven Sutton who was 7 years old was shot in the back while she was outside with her mother in Chicago, she was eagerly awaiting her trip to Disney World, and Aliyah Shell who was 6 years old was shot and killed in front of her mother on her front porch in the Chicago neighborhood of Little Village. Those neighborhoods cried and mourned, even those who don’t know those children, just like we cry for those who died at Sandy Elementary School.
Even when I talked about this with friends, half of them knew nothing of these deaths and the other half saw it on the news and “Oh yeah that little girl, that is so sad!!” Where are the Facebook posts? Where are the arguments about gun violence and inner city violence? Where are the photos of these little girls with heartfelt sayings and candles on my social media pages?
Our nation shares tears with the families affected by Sandy and they should because this affects all of us because our people, our children have suffered a loss so great, nothing will be able to fill that void in their life and we feel for that. The nation didn’t share tears for Aliyah and Heaven, not even half of the Chicagoland area did.
It brings me to tears because Chicago isn’t the only place where this happens, where our children can’t play outside for fear of bullets that have no names, where part of a generation is already lost and will either be killed by affiliation with a group or die for being innocent and in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For those of you who live in Chicago, I’d highly recommend visiting the Memorial in the Roseland Neighborhood located at 117th Street and Michigan Avenue (click here for the article). This was created by a wonderful organization called Kids off the Block (click here for their Facebook and here for their website) after the death of Blair Holt who was 16 when she was shot while trying to shield her friend from gunfire on a CTA bus. They are rebuilding the memorial for the 10th time to include all 376 name of children and young adults who have been killed in Chicago since 2007.
The tragedy at Sandy Elementary should never happen to anyone, anywhere and people should be crying in memory and screaming for changes. Along with this horrific event, don’t forget to share you love, outrage, tears and voice with all of those children who have been shot and killed all over this country and the world. Cry for the Aliyahs and Heavens, cry out in anger of the situations they lived in, cry out in pain for the loss of innocence, cry out for the injustice of the deaths of those Aliyahs and Heavens and Sandy Elementary School children and teachers.
We all have the power to make a difference and demand change, we just can’t wait for something as bad as Sandy to wake our entire nation up, we shouldn’t have to.