“Theres a war going on in my city and I’m not too sure if anyone else is noticing that there are people being drafted not knowing that they are fighting on the frontlines. You’ve been sleeping for too long but you have not been dreamless. The sounds of pummeling gunshots have made themselves too much like rain….” -Brave New Voices 2013 Final Round, Grand Slams Final
In listening to this video from Brave New Voices about the problems in Washington DC, I started thinking about my own city. On Monday, the United States of America commemorated nation-wide the service of men and women in the military but we have to extend our commemoration to the thousands and millions of lives that goes unclaimed and un-noticed in our cities and neighborhoods. These lives are the lives that we may hear about through our news’ channels, daily prayer-vigils or local papers, but they go un-noticed. In illustrating this, Renisha McBride, 19 years old, was murdered and laid to rest without her perpetrator being held into account for this horrendous action. There are soldiers dying everyday in our cities and neighborhoods to just stay alive, but many of us are sleeping. Many of us aren’t listening.
In looking at the crime statistics by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in my city for 2012, I wept. I felt the poem that I watched by the four poets lingering through every part of my body. There was this actualization that this is my city. This is your city. This is all of our cities. However, the statistics are heart-wrenching because I’ve never seen anyone more “disposable than a black boy”. There is a war going on in my area and there’s war happening in these neighborhoods on a daily-basis. So, what do we do? How do we bring these soldiers back home?
According to the 2012 KCPD Statistics for Crimes
71% of victims are: Black Male
12% of victims are: Black Female
15% of victims are: White Male
7% of victims are: White Female
3% of victims are: Hispanic Male
Age of Victims:
0-16 years: 5%
17-24 years: 39%
25-34 years: 34%
35-44 years: 9%
45 and over: 21%
Means of Attack:
These statistics are straightforward and much work is to be done. We must wake up and learn to “stand together”. There must be proactive people like you to end these wars. There are wars happening and you are fighting every day you decide to live.
In the words of the four poets:
“When did it become so easy for them to buy out our silence”