Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder & Gang Violence

I wrote this about 18 months ago. Still very current, so I share again…

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder & Gang Violence

As a way of introduction to this piece, please watch the following link below…

How gang violence affects mental health – BBC News

Nothing is being said about the possible, and probable, cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) arising out of  the impact of gang violence in certain inner cities. PTSD is not just a probability experienced by young people active in gangs, but also people living in those areas trying to go about their everyday business and lives. Notwithstanding the assault on mental health and well-being of  young people not involved in gang violence, as well as on mothers, fathers, other family members and friends of those killed and/or assaulted: all inadvertently becoming victims of gang violence themselves.

As a mother of two black men and grandsons, their safety is a daily concern for me, especially when they are out and about in the world. That concern had already been there, though more centred around my fears of possible- and some would say probable- run ins with the law, and other ‘powers that be discriminatory systems.’ Additionally I myself can struggle with anxiety, so this ongoing climate of youth violence oftentimes compounds my own anxiety, which must also be the case for those already living with mental health concerns at this time. Therefore, one does not need to be affiliated to gangs to be affected by it and feel terrorised by it living in these kind of inner city war zones.

Then there is the direct trauma experienced when witnessing a young person being harmed and/or losing their life, as well as the mental health assault of Bereavement when a young person and adults experience the loss of lives of friends and loved ones. As is already known, Bereavement has its own special effects and process of recovery, which is far from easy. And I can put money on it that  out of those impacted, in whatever fashion, very few is in receipt of counselling, therefore ends up dragging all that unprocessed and therefore unresolved trauma into adulthood, and across generations. And so the devastation goes on.

Then there is ‘Complex Trauma’ which is very debilitating, let alone when it too is added into the mix of gang violence. A type of trauma that still has not received the recognition due. This kind of trauma comes from having experienced abuse during ones childhood; in this situation the trauma very much shapes you, whether you believe it does or not. And it shapes you deeply and physiologically when the abuse is experienced at the hands of family friends and/or loved ones themselves, the very people who are meant to be there to love, cherish, teach and protect you. I think this is where the saying, “Better the devil you know” comes from. This kind of early ongoing and personality shaping  Complex Trauma is also less straight forward- though far from impossible- to treat.

It is indeed a very sad reality that it is not the ‘stranger’ who oftentimes presents the danger to children: the threat is on the doorstep and in children’s homes. The danger is in the place the child is meant to feel the safest. It is of no surprise, to me anyway, that for some children gangs can come to feel more like home: more like a place where they feel protected and can finally gain some sense of belonging…

Now let us take a look at some statistics:

Over 51, 000 children in England were identified as needing protection from abuse in 2017, (The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC); 90% of sexually abused children were abused by someone they knew, (The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC); 1 in 4 adults, males and females, would have experienced some form of sexual abuse by the time they are 18 years old: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys, (One In Four).

And to further make mention, there is no hierarchy in child abuse: neglect, physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, bullying and online abuse, are all forms of child abuse and are equally damaging in and of themselves. And in particular regard to mental health, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, and 1 in 10 young people will experience mental health problem, which oftentimes gets mistaken for run of the mill ‘teenage angst.’

Then there is the tendency for young black males aged 18-25 years old to be diagnosed with a psychotic mental health disorder, which is suspicious on the one hand because the statistic is marked and unchanging, but is of no surprise on the other hand when we seriously consider all the variables I am bringing to attention here. To me it is not rocket science why people from the black communities in general do not access counselling and other types of preventative service provisions and instead mostly presents at crisis points, and are over-represented in youth juvenile systems, prisons, social services, mental hospitals, and so on.

And in regards to the impact on the economy, in a study carried out in England in 2010, it was found that alone, mental illness cost the economy £105.2 billion. In spite of this figure mental illness is still under recognised and under treated in primary care.

Let us now take a look at physical health and well-being. The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study, (Retrieved 25 March 2014, is a research study conducted by Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organisation and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), well documents Adverse Childhood Experiences on adult physical health. The types of childhood trauma associated with adult high risk health behaviours such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, promiscuity, and severe obesity, and correlated with ill-health including depression, heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and shortened life span, are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, mother treated violently, household substance abuse, household mental illness, parental separation or divorce and an incarcerated household member.

Having gathered up these very telling social facts, and with the emphasis on Control and Prevention, the authors also identifies trauma-informed and resilience-building practises based on the research that is being implanted in communities, education, public health departments, social services, faith –based organisations and criminal law in America. We too on these side of the world shores can benefit from drawing some important lessons of  our own from pieces of research such as these, especially around control and prevention.

Indeed, Britain has started to make little headway, for example, in regards to domestic violence and abuse some lessons have be drawn from similar types of studies in Britain and are currently trying to be addressed in a primary care training and support programme called Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS, Ran by Queen Mary University of London, 2007-2010) IRIS is a collaboration between primary care and third sector organisations specialising in Domestic Violence and Abuse. A GP, on IRIS trained practise, has been quoted as saying:

“I’m now convinced that violence against women and children is a major public health problem with long-term consequences for women and their families. As an experienced GP, the whole project has been nothing short of transformational.”

And in regards to mental health and young black males being disproportionately diagnosed with psychosis, and as a community not accessing the more preventative services, I am aware of a piece of research that is currently being carried out by The Early Intervention City and Hackney Mental Health Team, in collaboration with a key player involved in a similar type of research carried out in America around this key issue.

So once again I say, more needs to be said, documented, and disseminated to all the key players in the Primary and Social Health Care fields – as well made available for the general population on the issue of PSTD. Also more need to be said and disseminated on Mental and Physical ill-health that surrounds and is also coming out of inner city gang violence, highlighting the social conditions that compounds these issues, namely poverty, discrimination, deprivation, racism, and Adverse Childhood Experience. Which brings to mind a quote:

“Hate yourself in the morning of your life, and by afternoon time you will be hating everyone else.”

In regards to treatment in the way of medication, yes it is not the sole source of help, but it absolutely has its place. It has its place when treating PTSD and other enduring Mental Health conditions, those that have become more ingrained, out of hand, and is havocking dire consequence on the person’s day to day life. But for true recovery, which by the way benefits the individual, the community, society and the economy on a whole, medication should be used in conjunction with therapy. With that combination oftentimes the need for medication lessens and can be weaned off from overtime. Once the trauma that has brought on the unbearable symptoms has been psychologically processed and satisfactorily physiologically regulated, one’s life can take a more productive and progressive turn, and head off in a happier and more wholesome life direction.

I have come to know quite a bit on this subject of PTSD and Mental Health, firstly from my own experiences, as well as in my work as a counsellor with women who have experienced historic and adult sexual and domestic violence. I have seen first-hand the impact of those traumas on mental health, well-being, relationships and self-esteem. To spell out more clearly, here are some of the symptoms of PTSD:

Sleep Disturbance like nightmares and difficulties in falling asleep and staying asleep; Flashbacks triggered by smells, associated memories, certain situations, almost anything; Intrusive Ruminating Thoughts that one feels that they cannot switch off from; Anxiety and Panic Attacks; Depression; Anger turned outward against others, and/or inwards resulting in violence towards oneself, e.g. Suicide, Self-Harm. Hyper vigilance, feeling always on edge, unable to relax; Paranoia, which in regards to gang violence can have some base in reality what with young people feeling unsafe in their communities, some feeling they need to carry guns and/or knives to protect themselves- or even Agoraphobia fearing venturing outdoors. Substance Abuse, Alcohol Abuse and Eating Disorders in an attempt at self and emotional regulation, as well as a way to self-mediate, numb and/or escape the pain. These PTSD symptoms and ways of coping are very real, as well as life-limiting.

In closing I am hoping at the end of this blog you can begin to see how very complex this issue of gang violence is and how very important it is that solutions to it come from all psycho-social angles. Let us not waste time splitting hairs about the cause and thinking our recommendation in the way of solution is the only one and best way forward. We have no time for score keeping and finger pointing: it is distracting and time wasting. We simply try everything and see which solutions works best.

This issue of gang violence and the immediate and far-reaching destruction it creates and leaves us with in its midst does not need knee jerk reactions and short-sighted opinions: it’s deep. It needs to be approached from the grass root up, then travel back down again to check out if what the grass root has said has been fully heard and taken into serious consideration. Then off we all go to implement, from the grass root up and back down again, monitoring and evaluating failures and successes.

This gang violence will be a slow, though steady and certain resolve,  far from a ‘peanut throwing sprint,’ which has oftentimes been the case with issues such as these, hence why not much have changed, and steadily gets worse. What is being called for – across the human condition board, is a Life-Change, from us all. And we all need to consistently take care of matters from our own end, then any place else we able to offer help: no more, no less.

And bless you one & all; You who are already out there making a difference. A dark place in the world lights up because of your efforts, so do not underestimate the power and importance of your difference-making much needed contributions. United We Stand, divided We fall.

Peace & Love,

Light…

Humane-Up, I Say, Again..

I am reading a book and it says this about the power of both action and inaction…arguing that they both go on to have their individual impact….I quote from the book,

“Remember this axiom: ‘All that it takes for evil to exist is for good people to do nothing. ‘ Hitler brought massive destruction into the world because, for a time, millions of individuals did nothing to stop him. Finally, masses of righteous men and women became so outraged that they fought back and created more destruction in order to stop Hitler. It had to be done, but the truly sad thing is that the situation need not have existed in the first place…”

If people had acted…sooner…

This is where we are with this ongoing historical, racial trauma of black folks…

This is where we are with that orange president in the USA that is “being allowed ” to say, do, and get away with all sorts of unforgivable and highly questionable things…

Humane-up people. We are all in this world together…No one group can be happy in the world if it is at the expense of another group of individuals….

All humankind are created equal…Nuff said..

Peace & Love,

Light..💛🔥

Mother-Lover

I wrote this poem in 2004 and it was born out of my feelings of desperation about the black on black crime that was also rampant at that time. This poem came to mind for a re-post today….especially the line I wrote about “Vision being restored.” Vision Being Restored in the current climate, with the true enemy working against progress and a wholesome society, being more clearly defined…Malignant Racism: racism being very much alive & kicking, and choking the life out of black people. All our efforts must be directed at this true source and the change needed there, across the institutional board. Racism, like the coronavirus, hurts US ALL- though for some, death rates are much higher…#BLM (Black Lives Matter) #BMHM (Black Mental Health Matters)

Mother-Lover..

Back in The Day we lived large, 
played hard-unconditionally loved
by the Great Mother; self-loving in Her Nature.

Then it came to pass,
a mean spirited, player hating, cold chill farce
held Her Sons to ransom; claimed Her, then raped Her.

Now Her sweet Sons don’t shine like before,
their throats are sore, from the pressure she applied
to hold them back, until such time
Vision was restored.

And as time passes by, memory fades;
whilst some of Her Sons still re-members
The Day, others buckle under the mental health strain;

Some becoming more like Gangcesters,
dis-membering, everything, both big and small
that resembles themselves at all.

But Her Love is Pure, She both under and over stands
that the rage like fire burns strong
and is still in need of being undone,

So Her offspring’s may sing
a more reparative redemption song
and like Eagles fly East-Homeward bound;
forward out of this, Babylon.

And then, The Right Time Come,
and the Grand Mother bawl-‘Fire a ga bun!
Go get ‘em Son! Regain your rightful positions!’

And with nuff love ina dem Hearts,
Her Truth upon their Tongues, their Quest?
To cut away all falsehoods from this-
Her kingdom.

So, “Fret not yourself my brothers,”

The Mother Loves us ever so much,
and as a Matter of Cause, is oh so Desirous of us
to find the Will to Live and Love.

So Remember, as it was in the beginning
So we shall be in the end; Her Sons shining,
like the Phoenix Forever Raising-
Again and Again and Again.

And So Shall It Be,

Amen!

Denise Marcia James, aka Insperience, 2004

Peace & Love,

Life 🖤💛🖤

Over-Stand©

what follows is a response (with slight adjustments) I made on Facebook today on a Birmingham news feed from a discussion by some members of the black community in reaction to another young black man losing his life in this continuing youth violence epidemic:

“Such a complex issue requiring to be dealt with in its complexity. Knives don’t jump up and kill people- people kill people. Very sad crisis situation in our communities,  which has been a long time in the making. We must keep the hope and faith alive nonetheless, and contain our outrage, as such emotion running rampant making rash decisions and  passing judgement is inadvertently more destructive than constructive.

Also, each death tells its own particular story so we must resist the temptation to  use the “knife crime” label from painting its brush totally across the board. And remember the media operates on the  sensational tip, first and foremost. It’s  not interested in solving problems, just selling lots of papers.

I was thinking months back that, general, in regards to all/certain crimes it would be good to have a programme maybe called “After the News” that writes and reports on the beginning middle and end of a story we so are better informed and get to better understand the issues at hand and out of that understanding come up with solutions/responses that clean the root of the problem and bring to it more lasting & impacting change. For example, domestic violence homicides is ALWAYS in the news- up to two women ‘s bodies being found in the freezer recently, but it is not reported as domestic violence, so easily gets swept under the “too close to home, sweep that under the carpet” rug.

The world and its systems and institutions are broken,  much of what goes on today is a product of that. We live in a world that wants change without changing anything about itself. There is something malignant in the world that works against real & lasting change because that may mean being put ‘out of pocket’ and ‘privilege.’ ….Didn’t intend to share all this here but we must keep in mind a much bigger picture when coming at big issues. Peace and love you all💜”

Peace & Love,

Light..

Laptime ©

I first heard the term ‘Laptime’ coined in the 90’s by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing in, ‘The Cress Theory of Color- Confrontation and Racism,’ encapsulated in her ground breaking book ‘The ISIS Papers, The Keys To The Colors.’ Dr. Frances Welsing was an American Afrocentrist Psychiatrist and in her book drew upon the story of the well loved and revered Egyptian Goddess Isis.

FYI: the name Isis is a Greek corruption as the true Egyptian pronunciation is unknown because Egyptian hieroglyphics only recorded consonants and left out vowels .

Isis was one of the main characters of the OSIRIS myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband, the divine king, Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus. She was believed to help the dead enter afterlife as she had helped Osiris, and she was considered the divine mother of the Pharaoh, who was likened to Horus. A truly restorative and healing story, especially for black folks in these times, with man’s continuing inhumanity to man- an inhumanity that very much includes himself seen as we are all members of the one human race, irrespective of our differences.

FYI: the Goddess Isis is also very similar to the Virgin Mary and the story of Christ, and his death and resurrection, and predates it…food for thought…go see…

http://www.crystalinks.com/isis.html

Also, please see my blog/poem: Sweet but Street, which thinking about it now, is a tribute to this Goddess and her benevolent spirit in women.

Anyway, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing used the term  ‘Laptime’ when she was talking about young people becoming sexually active before they are psychologically ready to, and emotionally grown enough to be parents. Many of these children came/comes from poverty- stricken inner cities. She argued that what these children/young people were/are seeking in such relationship was/is not sex per se, but comfort, security, protection and love. They were seeking that which they were not getting from home, which all children need for optimal human development; much like a plant will lend itself to being bent out of shape to find and receive the daylight it needs, which has been placed out of reach. Such is the Life-force within living things.

Laptime, regular quality time spent on (their) parents/caregivers’ laps, in their loved one’s presence, feeling in those moments  body to body warmth; feeling in those moments safe and secure, a much needed buffer- as well as little piece of heaven- in a hostile world, is as important to humankind as is food to eat..

Houses have to have loving, caring, present and aware people living in them to make them mostly happy homes.

I was one of those emotionally (and otherwise) deprived inner city child, who constantly longed for the warmth provided by being in close proximity to another warm-bloodied soul. I too had been terribly starved in these quarters. That deprivation was the motivating force behind my decision to have a child at 17 years old. I desperately wanted to give, and have my love received, by another human being. I wanted and needed to know how that feels. I wanted and needed to know what difference that would make to human life, not having experienced much of it myself. This is also one of the reasons why I am a counsellor today. I remember clearly making that decision at the age of 21 years old when I put myself into therapy and experienced being given to in that special, gentle and attentive way. The experience made me so want to be in the position to give that gift of emotional Presence to persons in need.

Whilst reading Dr. Frances Cress Welsing’s book in the 90’s, the concept of Laptime helped me to see the unmet need behind young people engaging in grown up activities, not having been children for long. It helped, and still helps me, to take the judgement out of those kinds of psychosocial situations; it helps take the judgement out of ‘external appearances’ of what could be – and is oftentimes deemed- very poor choices.

At this present time, I’ve been needing me some Laptime, some ‘time out of mind’ where I come down, and ground, after being out in the rat race and engaging in adult things for too long. I need Laptime so I can spend good quality restorative time with myself, centred at home inside my body, close to an inner silent source and knowing, that sustains & comforts me..

This ‘coming down time’ does not come easy for me, what with this emotional/self-regulation, never having been passed down and learned from my caregivers/parents at the opportune childhood time. Laptime for me is Life’s work, a work very much in progress. But I will give myself props, because in this area I have come a very long way. I am much  better at being with myself and feeling the sweet comfort in doing nothing – just simply being. Being in ‘the moment’ and smelling the rose of ‘In the greater scheme of things, all is well indeed,’ of which I am eternally grateful, given those meagre beginnings…

Learning to stop often for Laptimes such as these, where nothing is taken for granted, and the whole of me rejoices in ‘good-enough being,’ is a blessing; a blessing I make time to embrace whenever my mind is empty-enough of its contents, to fully receive the amazing grace of Presence: Presence of mind, Presence of heart, Presence in being.

This Laptime, like the Goddess Isis, brings mind body & soul back into a unified whole, restored and preciously held, in its One True Self, the One the Lord looked back on, and was Well Pleased with.

So, Be Still & Know…You are loved, as you are. No need to run away and deny yourself. Be The blessing you already are by simply being, Here.

Peace & Love,

Light…

 

 

Back In The Day…©

I have been revisiting the poems I wrote 14 years or so ago, of which I also used to perform on the poetry circuit in the late 90’s and early 20’s. Black on black crime was very much alive and kicking then. I would like to share one of those poems with you all. This poem came to mind this evening, brought into consciousness by these inner city youth cries; these Inner City Blues, if you like…Here goes,

Mother-Lover

Back in The Day we lived large, 
played hard-unconditionally loved
by the Great Mother; self-loving in Her Nature.

Then it came to pass,
a mean spirited, player hating, cold chill farce
held Her Sons to ransom; claimed Her, then raped Her.

Now Her sweet Sons don’t shine like before,
their throats are sore, from the pressure she applied
to hold them back, until such time
Vision was restored.

And as time passes by, memory fades;
whilst some of Her Sons still re-members
The Day, others buckle under the mental health strain;

Some becoming more like Gangcesters,
dis-membering, everything, both big and small
that resembles themselves at all.

But Her Love is Pure, She both under and over stands
that the rage like fire burns strong
and is still in need of being undone,

So Her offspring’s may sing
a more reparative redemption song
and like Eagles fly East-Homeward bound;
forward out of this, Babylon.

And then, The Right Time Come,
and the Grand Mother bawl-‘Fire a ga bun!
Go get ‘em Son! Regain your rightful positions!’

And with nuff love ina dem Hearts,
Her Truth upon their Tongues, their Quest?
To cut away all falsehoods from this-
Her kingdom.

So, “Fret not yourself my brothers” (sing)

The Mother Loves us ever so much,
and as a Matter of Cause, is oh so Desirous of us
to find the Will to Live and Love.

So Remember, as it was in the beginning
So we shall be in the end; Her Sons shining,
like the phoenix Forever Raising-
again and again and again.

Amen

Denise Marcia James, aka Insperience, 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inner City Blues…Make me wanna holler..©

Holler! The following is a Post I wrote on Facebook (and expanded on here that bit further) following this weeks’s-and year-spate in black on back knife and gun crime. At the time of writing this (07/04/2018) there have been 55 causalities:

An analogy: So, say you have a disease like cancer and the doctors’ try to heal it by keep giving you operations on your arm, where there is absolutely no cancer…Or the doctors’ tries to treat it by giving you lots of pain killers and sending you away, free of charge, on the most lovely of holidays. Will the person recover from the cancer? A cancer that is already at a life threatening stage? Would they? You will agree with me that for the cancer to stand a good chance of being cured the doctor’s would have to go to the root of the cancer and work on it from there, and then they can give the pain killers and holidays etc as other aspects of the treatment; you may call these measures preventative-i.e. working toward keeping the cancer in remission. Other preventive and recovery measures may include life style changes. You still with me? Ok, THE SAME THING APPLIES TO THE INCREASE IN KNIFE AND GUN CRIMES AND THE YOUTHS DYING WAY BEFORE THEIR TIME. It is hardly rocket science!

Measures to resolve this ongoing crisis have to come from all different angles as well as be about working to identify, clearly name, and get at the root causes of this issue first becoming epidemic. This problem of neglecting to start from there- from the root cause- is a thing that is generally missing and extremely wide spread in this broken world. The world and its people find it hard to look directly at root causes, take them seriously, and ACT. Politicians for example are experts at evading the issues and playing ‘point the finger and cast aspersions’ game. EXPERT. And somehow we expect the youths, who looks to us from the very moment they come out of the womb into this ready made world, to behave differently! Madness!

As the following quote says: ” It is not when mankind will learn, but WHEN mankind will ACT on what it already knows.

History repeats, personally, collectively, across generations and globally because we have not learned what we need to learn. To me that should be the point of History lessons in schools- to learn from the past mistakes of the previous generations. When it comes to what the root causes are all those pieces of research have already been done and sits gathering dust not being picked up enough, especially at the level of government. This world is crying out for change; for change in the old ways of seeing and dealing with things/issues. This world is screaming out for a paradigm shift that righteously overthrows the old order that never truly worked for every-man, just a privileged few, who historically have worked feverishly hard and fought tirelessly to keep its ‘one dimensional, shortsighted, greed-infested systems and structures’ wheels turning and very much in place. Makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands…as Marvin Gaye sang in his very poignant-and still currently relevant, ‘What’s Going On’ album.

The word Government has GOVERN in it, and as Daniel Goleman points out in his book Emotional Intelligence,

” Leadership is not domination. It’s the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal.”

This is the paradigm shift needed; this is the new mindset needed, one that ensures, wherever possible, everyone wins. There cannot be peace and true prosperity on earth until this new order reigns supreme – as supreme as this outdated and worn out current world dis-order does.

And the word Discipline comes from the word Disciple…meaning TO TEACH, not solely to beat. So going back to beating children and causing them to fear us as parents is not the answer either, and indeed people who solely relay on this kind of discipline and pedagogy, is very much part of the problem of inner city violence. Young people need firm and fair discipline, boundaries and displays of kindness; they need the adults in their charge to model the behaviour they expect the children to pick up. Children learn mostly from what adults do, not from what they say. We need to walk the talk as people in charge and in governance of the young. We need to model to them what authentic leadership looks like. Expecting children to embody qualities that we ourselves lack as caregivers, teachers, politicians and the like, is absolutely ludicrous. That is like expecting a child, and/or an adult for that matter, to know how to do algebra without ever being taught and/or shown how. Madness!!

Just had to shout out my way of looking at and understanding this crisis; just very simple food for much needed thought.

And let us remember to keep the faith and lift hope up high, as we need that Light to fight the dark in these very troubled and dis-eased times, as well as keep hope and faith alive when universal law forcibly carries us, kicking and screaming, into a new and more humane social order. As Malcolm X said, as he himself was opening to this new shift in perspective and therefore consciousness within himself, which I believe was the thing that brought about his demise:

“No man truly understands until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”

So as I sign off, I leave you with the link to Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues, that has been playing in my mind since I begun to ponder on this subject and write this piece-

Marvin Gaye – Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) – YouTube 

 

Peace & Love,

Light..

A Cry for the little boy ©

Who Will Cry for the Little Boy

– by Antwone Fisher

Who will cry for the little boy?
Lost and all alone.
Who will cry for the little boy?
Abandoned without his own?

Who will cry for the little boy?
He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy?
He never had for keeps.

Who will cry for the little boy?
He walked the burning sand
Who will cry for the little boy?
The boy inside the man.

Who will cry for the little boy?
Who knows well hurt and pain
Who will cry for the little boy?
He died again and again.

Who will cry for the little boy?
A good boy he tried to be
Who will cry for the little boy?
Who cries inside of me.

This blog is on the tragedy and senselessness of black on black crime and our youths dying before their time. This poem came to mind after reading the Evening News on Quamarie Barnes’ story, and about the boy who killed him-the latter though the perpetrator, a victim of this deep-rooted malady in the black community and inner cities.

The poem ‘Who will Cry For The Little Boy’ was written by Antwone’s Fisher, whose life story book ‘Finding Fish’ was made into a film directed by and starring Denzel Washington. A life marred by deprivation, child physical, sexual and emotional abuse, Antwone Fisher did not allow those enormous psychological injuries to fully determine his life’s Journey. Though, in my opinion, those scars leave a certain legacy and one has to almost daily turn that wound into wonder and life purpose alchemy.

I think this is a poignant poem for our wounded youths at this time-those who go on to hurt through their hurt, and those who are able to turn hurt into healing, hope and difference making. I will cry for the little boy; I do cry for the little boy, and the little girl, all around the world, living in the absence of a loving and protective childhood. I cry for them all, and for those little children inside grown people.

I was one of those inner city children. I was one of those lost children inside a grown woman. And it was my crying for myself that brought me the healing I both needed and deserved. An outpouring that ensured that, though I had little control over how my life began, I got to decide, from that point on, how it would go on, to the very end.

P.s. And Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Rest In Eternal Sweet Peace Quamarie Barnes, and may the Comforting Peace of the Lord that surpasses all understanding find its way into your parents, loved ones and friends hearts.

Peace and Love,

Light…