Who will commemorate and rally around them?
A few days ago, I got a call from Tangela Sears, the lead advocate for the Florida Parents of Murdered Children. It hurt me deeply to hear her painfully and tearfully describe the struggle she and her fellow parents whose children have been murdered are experiencing in trying to get the public to give a damn about the Black lives being taken in the streets of our communities year-round. A mother whose son was also killed on February 14, 2018 came to her recently to express sadness and anger because her child’s murder in Miami was not covered in the news because of the massacre at a school in Parkland, Florida that same day. To date, her son’s murderer is still at large, and the police have no leads and no plans to make a public appeal seeking help to solve the crime.
Detectives aren’t returning calls to parents who repeatedly call to check on the status of the investigations into their children’s murders. Elected officials aren’t returning calls to parents seeking assistance with the pursuit of justice and/or help with financial burdens of a child being murdered. No group of loud and rambunctious advocates is pushing anyone for immediate solutions. No one is demanding a law enforcement leader be fired. No one is seeking to suspend any elected official who isn’t addressing this crisis. No news stories are being written or televised daily to shed light on this enduring crisis or the voluminous stories of despair being told by parents who expect support and justice but are receiving silence and apathy. In the meantime, they are adding more members to their group as more parents are losing their children to gun violence and are turning to each other for the help society is refusing to give them.
This week, many of us are preparing to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of the MSD massacre and to remember the 17 lives lost in one of the worst school shootings in US history. This is an important moment for our community, and the horrific event that occurred at MSD High School last year deserves the solemn remembrance of the lives lost, caring support to all affected and collective determination to prevent it from ever happening again that an entire county/nation will unite to give it.
Hard stop. No equivocation. No caveat added. Zero dilution intended.
At the same time, are we being grossly negligent, insensitive and even complicit to the accumulating despair of so many other parents who have lost children to gun violence but can’t seem to get so much as a sustained local effort to even acknowledge their children’s deaths?
Why aren’t we mad as hell about the lost lives of hundreds of our children to gun violence that continues to escalate with no end in sight?
When will we have a solemn remembrance of these lives lost, caring support to all affected by these recurring tragedies and collective determination to prevent these child murders from ever happening again?
For more information about the Florida Parents of Murdered Children and to help their cause, please contact Tangela Sears at (786) 286-1104 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Brian C. Johnson is the President/CEO of the Minority Builders Coalition, Inc., and he is a founding Board Member for the Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce. Brian also is the Vice Mayor of the City of West Park, Florida. Follow Brian on Facebook: Brian C. Johnson and Instagram: Brian_C._Johnson.