Hood Health 101 speaks to your humanity and the need save our youth in Black and Brown communities
Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen so much negative, hateful, and downright uncivilized behavior exhibited by the old young. It’s enough to make you question if many of us have lost our humanity. I’m reading headlines or hearing stories about a young girl being jumped in Brooklyn while no one helped, a young man with his whole life ahead of him being jumped, robbed, and killed, cyber bullying people who don’t fit into other peoples’ molds, a 5 year old child shot in the chest and killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time as if such a thing exists for 5 year olds, and lastly, my own son being jumped and while being kicked in the head repeatedly by 3 boys, and was saved by a woman he didn’t even know. So many young lives are being affected in the most detrimental ways, that most times, I find myself speechless and trying to make sense out of the senseless. Trying to guide our young men and women in a world where they face so many challenges leaves me on edge much of the time. The toughest of challenges that I never expected though, were the ones that would come from my own community. Often times, we can rationalize or expect certain challenges from other communities due to systematic constructs that are in place to destroy black and brown communities and families. Even with that being said, many of our young people are choosing a hard road and a quick way to get there. So what do we do? What’s the next step? Are some people just hopeless? I can continue with all of the questions in my head, but what’s the point in that right? I was taught to be a problem solver and not to say that I have all of the solutions, but in this case, some action is better than no action and complaints to boot.
In January, I wrote about National Mentoring Month and spoke on how we can have more of an impact within our communities. Now more than ever, we need each other, if we are going to usher in the next generation of leaders and proactive revolutionary thinkers. Mentoring has more of an impact than you may realize because it gives individuals the opportunity to continue the tradition of passing down much needed guidance, experience, and knowledge to others. This alone helps to create stronger communities and reinforces our care and protection over our young and our elderly. We have to keep in mind that the same sense of hopelessness that many of our adults are feeling, our children are feeling also. So think about what it takes to keep your head high or keep you motivated toward your dreams or goals and pass that along to a young person. Every lesson that you have learned through good or bad decisions gives you a platform to share with others. Your hard road may be the next young persons guide to an easy path and your success may inspire innovation and greater success in our youth. It’s not and has never been about being perfect. It has always been about sharing your journey so that it may inspire and create change in others. Think of it this way; there is always that one kid, teenager, young adult, or even an adult who couldn’t relate to anyone else until you came along. Your presence alone can be that spark that motivates change. You may be the one to give hope to the hopeless. Be the spark of light in the darkness, be the truth in a society full of deceit, and be worthy of trust in a society full of hustlers. In truth, we may not reach every child and that’s how life goes, but we have to give it our all because they are worth our all. As I said in the beginning, I don’t have all of the answers. I am simply sick and tired of being sick and tired. I can’t keep watching our children die, be exploited for adult entertainment, or simply left to navigate this cold world alone. Personally, I have and will continue to take action like many others I know, but more individuals caring and being engaged are needed. To the person reading this who doesn’t know what to do, who is afraid of our youth, who is fed up with the senseless violence, who is tired of watching our young people die before they get the chance to even live, it’s you, you are what’s needed. We cannot allow our frustrations to burn out or be misdirected. We have to remain focused and purposeful in our actions.
There are official avenues that you can join to become mentors, such and Big Brothers Big Sisters and others. You can also simply be inspired to go out into your community and help others without formal mentoring training. The choice is yours. Many of our great leaders didn’t have a perfect past, but they did come to a place where the desire to save our people was more important than any previous mistakes. We live in a time and climate where our young need our guidance, protection, care, and knowledge. Our children are facing a society that does not value life or freedom for every citizen. Society’s moral compass is skewed and those of us who have the proper perspective, time, and dedication have to step out into the forefront now more than ever. It’s important to see positive images within our communities and neighborhoods. If you are mentoring our youth please take photos with your mentee and post them on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #HoodHealth101Mentors and tag The Source on IG @TheSourceMag and Twitter @THESOURCE as well as myself on Twitter @NakeashaJ and IG @Melanated_Beauty. Let’s remember our communal traditions and be dedicated to changing the communities around us.
-Nakeasha Johnson (@NakeashaJ)