If you never have to see your child in a casket, consider yourself blessed. My life has been turned upside-down since my only child, Kimoni Davis, was killed by police brutality. I became a member of the club nobody wants to join. I call this the “Parents Grief Club” and although I’m not asking for your pity, I’m asking for your empathy.
I definitely was not the first in the club and sadly more members come daily. Unfortunately, the only pandemic people speak of is COVID, but if we are real with ourselves, the Black and brown communities have been dealing with a pandemic of gun violence in our communities for several decades.
It’s common for our society to hear and see bloodshed. We speak about the shootings committed by law enforcement and the lack of justice families receive, but we do not speak about the violence within our community. I don’t talk about Black on Black crime because there’s no such thing: Crime is crime, and it does not have a race. Why are we not talking about how the guns are infiltrating our communities and landing in the hands of the misguided?
Growing up in the late ’70s, I remember a peaceful time when our neighborhoods were filled with families, businesses, parks, and plenty of things for children to do. Today, a great majority of those families are broken. Mom-and-Pop stores turned commercial, and the parks have become dangerous. In the city once filled with activities for children, public spaces in our community are now breeding grounds for crime. Our neighborhoods are now filled with senseless bloodshed.
Gun violence is savagely destroying our communities. People are so quick to pick up a gun to solve a disagreement, not realizing that bullets don’t have any one person’s name on them. The bullets of those guns often hit the innocent. Sometimes the innocent can be a little boy riding his bike or a little girl watching TV in her home or an old lady lying in her bed. Whatever the scenario, it becomes another bloody invitation to a club that no one wants to be in.
Mass shootings are almost becoming a way of life in America, and the world feels the pain—but when they are in Black and brown neighborhoods, they don’t seem to get the same kind of outcry as when they happen somewhere else. Black and brown children deserve to grow old, yet the sentiment in the ’hood is that many of our kids will not get to grow old.
Personally, I have had many family members killed by guns, and my answer is not to ban guns because guns don’t kill people; it’s the person pulling the trigger. We need to stress that quick impulse to pull a trigger may end up in a mistake that lasts a lifetime. Some people think when a person is killed by a gun, that’s the end of the story, but it’s not. That is the end of a life, but the deceased could have been a future doctor, lawyer, or construction worker—someone who would have made our world a better place. A future pillar of the community, but one that a bullet stopped in their tracks.
And now we have another parent, another family member, another friend, or co-worker who is forced to join a club that no one wants to be a member of. As a parent of a deceased child, I can tell you firsthand that our pain doesn’t go away. Our days are never the same. Holidays become holidaze. What used to be hopes for our children have become an endless series of “what if”s.