This Thanksgiving holiday (you know, aside from commemorating the ills of the colonization of “American” land) was supposed to be about bonding with family over food, but for one family, it is filled with grief.
Two days before the holiday (Nov. 20), 13-year-old Sandra Parks was struck and killed by a stray bullet while she was watching television in her Milwaukee home. According to WISN, Parks was able to articulate the inevitable to her mother before she passed. “She took it like a soldier,” her sister Tatiana Ingram said. “She just walked in the room and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot.'”
While all instances gun violence is extremely sad, this particular senseless instance is gut-wrenching because just two years earlier, Parks had written a poignant, award-winning essay on the gun violence that plagues her hometown for a Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest.
“We are in a state of chaos,” she had written. “In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost every day. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. There is too much black on black crime.”
Our thoughts are with Parks’ family. Read her 2016 essay “Our Truth” in full below:
By Sandra Parks
Sometimes, I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day. I put my headphones on and let the music take me away. I move to the beat and try to think about life and what everything means. When I do; I come to the same conclusion … we are in a state of chaos. In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost everyday. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. There is too much black on black crime. As an African-American, that makes me feel depressed. Many people have Lost faith in America and its ability to be a living example of Dr. King’s dream!
The truth is faith and hope in what people can do, has been lost in the poor choices we make. We shall overcome has been lost in the lie of who we have become! So now, the real truth is, we need to rewrite our story so that faith and hope for a better tomorrow, is not only within us, but we believe it and we put it into actions.
Our first truth is that we must start caring about each other. We need to be empathetic and try to walk in each other’s shoes. We shall overcome when we eliminate the negative and nasty comments people make about each other. We shall overcome, when we love ourselves and the people around us. Then, we become our brothers keeper.
Our second truth is that we need to have purpose. We are the future generation, therefore we must have an education to make a positive difference in the world. We are the future leaders, but if we don’t have an education, we will accomplish nothing. We will overcome, when we use our education to make the world a better place. We will become the next President, law enforcement officers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and lawmakers. We cannot continue to put the responsibility on other people. It is our responsibility as future leaders!
We must not allow the lies of violence, racism, and prejudice to be our truth. The truth begins with us. Instead of passing each other like ships in the night, we must fight until our truths stretch to the ends of the world.
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