Public Signal: Our Kids Matter

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by Alexis Hancock

Dear Community,

Tuesday (4/22/2014) night in the Bronx around 11:00PM, I witnessed three young boys of color (13 tops) playing with each other and running down the street. They were sword fighting with two pipes and doing what unsupervised kids do at that time of night.

I hear a pipe drop down the block (perpendicular to my street), and they run back on my street. I hear a voice of a man say “GET BACK DOWN HERE”.

They wait to see if he goes away, and he runs back up on to my street. A large, athletic, white male (21-23 maybe) stands there to confront them:

He yells:


The kids stay to confront him, obviously knowing he said that to provoke any action from them. I tell them to run and get out to safety. One small black boy in the group confronts him, smiling and defiant. The white man runs after him down the black-top park, yelling “LITTLE NIGGERS” more times I can count. All three get away. Huffing and puffing the man passes where I stand and I confront him about his liberal use of the word nigger.

He tries to justify it by saying the kids threw a pipe at him. I tell him they are kids and he thought they were niggers before that night anyway. He yells at me to “GET YOUR LITTLE NIGGERS”. He also told me a few times “they are going to grow up to be criminals anyway”.

He walks back up the street to his three white friends who were waiting silently (All Fordham University Students, I live by the institution in the Bronx, NY). They all depart after he rushes them on to leave my block. I yell at him to never come around here again to chase kids.

I want this to be known. He knew if he beat that child senseless he could possibly get away with it. This kid was a fourth of his size. These kids posed no real deadly threat. He wanted to and incited a fight with them. He justified his actions and his words with a determined fate for children he never met. Those kids could have been doing volunteer work and never got into trouble. He just wanted any reason to beat a black child up and he found one that night.

I want to send the public signal to everyone that this was deemed okay in his eyes. I can’t help but to think of all the Trayvon Martins and Renisha McBrides in our news and I wonder if the lack of care around their lives in from the justice system helped people like that racist think it was okay to attack our children openly and publicly. He was a college student and attends a university that prides itself on breeding educators. People like him go back out into the world with the mindset that it is okay to have this bias while interacting with people of color. If he had that sort of disregard with children of color, imagine how he feels about an adult. Our kids matter and I want everyone to know that. I will be continuing to create awareness around this in my community and won’t stop until I return the public signal back:  “This is not okay with us. You are being watched. We love our kids. You will be held accountable for your actions.”

Alexis Hancock blogs here.

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