Upon hearing the sad news about a 16 year old girl named Amy Joyner-Francis getting jumped by a group of girls and ultimately dying from a head injury in a high school bathroom, my heart broke in half. As an 18 year old young woman, I know all too well the hardships of adolescence and how people can be cruel to young women who are still finding their place in this world-especially other girls. Sadly, women criticize, belittle, and create drama early in their lives; the kind of drama that divides instead of unites. I see this constant cycle of hatred affecting women daily as women are constantly pulling other women down for their choices and their actions. I'm honestly sick of witnessing it. More than anything, I want women of color to stop and pay attention to how their words and their actions affect other women of color.
Though, I do not know the circumstances that led to her untimely death, I do know that there should not be a RIP next to her name. I do know that the violence within the black community has to stop now. And it needs to stop today. From a young age, we are taught how to fight with our fists first and ask questions later. We learned this behavior from our parents who learned from their parents the importance of "taking no crap" and we've lovingly adopted it into this generation.
But, we must take into account that our grandparents and our ancestors had to endure slavery, the violation of rights, and many forms of overt racism. Evidently, we do not live in a post-racial society, but we do have to understand that to some degree being intent on fighting the system has made us more susceptible to fighting each other. We hate ourselves to the point that we don't comprehend the systemic tactic: we'll give them knives and let them kill themselves.
Also, I have to speak on how technology is killing us. Literally, killing us. Kids are so concerned with looking good for the camera that when they engage in these fights, they are asking friends to record them and publish these disgusting videos on social media platforms for sport. Due to their fragile egos, if they appear weak or as if they "lost the fight", they are quick to retaliate and fight again. Even worse, they are apt to pick up a gun and settle their differences that way. When watching these videos, I often ask myself "Why?" What is the reason for such violence? Was it slanderous gossip? Was it over a boy or a girl? Was it worth a human life?
To the people who think I am overreacting, you are the same people who condone violence and abusive behavior. You are the people who condone women hating other women and you reinforce the idea that bullying is normal. You are the people who think that growing thick skin at the expense of mental health and self-esteem is okay. Don't you know that the children are our future? So, I hope that schools across America implement no-tolerance policies against bullying and in-school fights. Hopefully, schools can continue to provide a safe space for children to learn, thrive, and grow.
Dear Black Community:
Let us raise young black children who can communicate effectively without resorting to violence.
Let us raise young black men who are strong, but do not have to use their fists to show they are men.
Let us raise young black women who do not hate each other for their differences, but recognize that their plight as black women is similar. They must stick together. Their lives depend on it.
Let us raise children with compassion and kindness in their hearts and souls.
And, to those young girls who are now facing the harsh reality of the world for killing their fellow classmate, I am not angry at you. I am sorry for you. I feel for you. I am praying for you. Because we are only capable of giving others the love that we think we deserve. Amy definitely didn't deserve to die.