Susan L. Taylor: What We Can Do to Reclaim Black Children2/13/2013
(Atlanta Daily World) Six years after I first heard them, the statistics still haunt me: Eighty-si...
(Atlanta Daily World) Six years after I first heard them, the statistics still haunt me: Eighty-six percent of Black children in the fourth grade read and do math below their grade level.
Black girls between the ages of 15 and 24 represent the greatest number of new HIV infections. Homicide is the leading cause of death for our boys. The village is on fire! And our love is the saving, healing water that legions of our children are literally dying for. When we listen we hear their cries rising above the flames. Their voices carry the incendiary pain and humiliation of intergenerational poverty that turns dreams to ashes: days of missed meals, uncertain safety and poorly resourced schools that plenish the pipeline to prison. These are among the many grievous thefts of potential impoverishing the lives of Black children in the land of plenty, a land made rich and powerful on the backs of our ancestors. And it’s happening on our watch.
Attorney General Eric Holder charged a national task force with investigating how exposure to violence impacts children. I attended his December 14 meeting at which the culminating findings in the Defending Childhood report were delivered. The violence that children of this nation are subjected to in their homes and communities and glamorized in the media is relentless and chilling. Expert after expert cautioned that exposure to violence traumatizes children and that, unresolved, those traumas easily lead to deep depression and dysfunctional behaviors. These socially disruptive behaviors—our young people’s cries for help—lead the nightly news from coast to coast, rousing shame and anxiety. We hold our collective breath and pray, Lord, don’t let the crazed one be one of us. But the question that is never asked and answered is why are these young people acting out? What I have come to know in my personal and professional life is this: Understanding the cause of our pain and taking action to address it are crucial to our healing.
With understanding and action, we heal, grow and thrive in profound ways. Held up proudly, nurtured and supported, we have in past generations succeeded despite the often dire economic circumstances, troubled families and traumas that many of us endured coming of age. Who among us isn’t carrying some hurt or depression or self-sabotaging habit we yet need to break?
We are a remarkable species, living at an extraordinary time in history, a marvel of creation, human and divine. Love is the divine aspect of our being. It is restorative and healing and elevates everything it touches. That’s the promise. Love, God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah—call It what you will. Originating Spirit gave birth to all existence. It’s the energy that governs and balances all in creation, every cell in every living thing. It is the unchanging, unfailing, eternal aspect of our being. Spiritual awareness inspires the love, walk-on-water faith, courage and creativity needed to heal everything within us and around us, including the damage done to our people over the seas and centuries. With love and caring we can create the beautiful future we want.
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