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It’s said repeatedly that with each young life lost, we lose a potential community leader, visionary, activist, educator, doctor, lawyer, or other manifestation of greatness. It’s our duty as their parents, family members, neighbors, educators, leaders, mentors, and role models to continue to educate and nurture their dreams. We must inject a spirit of hope and love into a generation of people that have been hardened by their circumstance.

Headlines such as: “36 Chicago-area students killed sets record”, “Homicides Down But Not For Chicago Public School Students”, “Chicago Public School Students Are Both Killed and Killers” are commonplace for Chicago residents. What’s even sadder is the fact that the more people read these types of headlines, the more desensitized they become. Many of the readers to these headlines ARE our children & sadly the effects are the same.These aren’t salacious or scandalous novels that they can put down and replace with a more appropriate selection. This is the daily NEWS. This is their REALITY.

The constant message in this cycle of violence should be the need for rigorous education. Our children need to constantly be reminded that their minds are the most powerful weapons they could ever possess. They need to know that once they are armed with knowledge and cannot be disarmed by anything or anyone.

Community leaders recently organized a memorial service that honored the 260 Chicago public school students that have been murdered in the last 3 years. Two-hundred and sixty CHILDREN have been murdered in the last three years. These kids don’t even have to leave their homes to be victims of random gun violence. For our children, burying their classmates and friends has become a normal occurrence.

Continuously educating today’s youth gives them the ability to educate their peers and allows their peers to educate others in order to positively affect their circumstance. Our kids must understand that they are the world’s most powerful resource. There’s an old adage that says charity starts at home, well change does also, start with yours.

A Child’s Tragedy

Children living in urban war zones,
Too complacent to be complainants,
Cultivated into a culture where killing is common.
Not given an option to use their mind as a sword,
Living a life heavily protected by body armor.
Our future heroes are being hunted,
Stalked and slaughtered like prey.
Not even slightly aware they deserve better,
Cause they started life out this way.
We’ve replaced our youth’s books with babies,
Taken their literature and given them live ammunition.
And as much as it hurts, its hard to blame them for their dastardly deeds because we’ve placed them in these positions.
Each time a kid’s cut down, we complain, cry, and sing the blues,
Only to continue the next day despite life’s harsh reality,
Until the next time we hear about it on the news.
We expect them to raise themselves,
Become men and women of valor without giving them values.
We rely on teachers to discipline and impart wisdom,
Instead of parenting them ourselves.
Not equipping them with life skills and legacies,
Just hoping they do the best with the hand they’re dealt.
What we fail to realize is,
its imperative that knowledge is inherited,
That we continue to give our children a chance to choose.
Instead of being comfortable living in a society that keeps graveyards and prisons in business,
But doesn’t have a problem closing down our schools.

Give H.O.P.E. Live H.O.P.E.

Shannon Martin
Guest Blogger

About the Author

Shannon R. Martin is an avid writer, poet, and student of the world, constantly learning and gaining inspiration from life. A dedicated mother of 2 and, herself a child of the Father, Shannon is also a lover of the arts. More of Shannon’s work can be found at https://stillismile.wordpress.com and she can also be followed on Twitter @SidShaw2.