As I stood holding family members of Zurana Horton this week, my tears turned to anger as I replayed the imagery in my mind of the mother of 12 being gunned down as she used herself as a shield from the bullets that were flying at the kids being let out of school in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Here I was in the home of a mother who had already lost two other children to gun violence and now she had to raise grandchildren that would surely be forever scarred by the brutal gun violence that took their mother’s life. I looked around at photos of Zurana and thought about the state of emergency in the Black community and how we won’t turn each other in because it’s “working with the man,” but will instead allow our people to kill each other while our streets are the “Wild Wild West.” I lost my son’s father to gun violence 10-years-ago and I’m so tired of watching more innocent victims like him and Zurana get their lives cut short. Thankfully an arrest has been made in this case but that won’t bring Zurana’s life back.
National Action Network held a press conference and the media asked the same old questions: Whether the elected officials have been accountable and what more the community can do. It makes me want to vomit when I think about how we have to beg people to care about the loss of Black life, and then we have to beg the community to take care of itself and quit the taking of lives.
Why is it that we don’t know where these illegal guns are coming from? Why are we unable to get weapons off our streets? And why on earth is it so damn hard to get our politicians to do something about it?
If Zurana’s tragic death occurred on the upper east side of Manhattan and not Brownsville, Brooklyn, you better believe elected officials and those in power would be singing a different tune. If young white men and women were dropping like flies from bullets in their neighborhood, I can guarantee you all of society would come to a halt until some sort of resolution could be achieved. Now, some people may say that we in the Black community need to speak up and do something to protect ourselves. But after generations of systematically being put down, the post-traumatic slavery syndrome is still affecting us whereby we as a collective think we somehow don’t deserve better.
Well, I’m here to say it’s time we demand better. It is nothing short of a travesty that we continue to watch men, women and children in our community get taken out by senseless violence on a daily basis. The simple act of picking up your children from school should not cost a person his/her life.
People keep people keep asking me why I continue to write about the issue of gun violence. The truth is, every single time someone dies from gun violence I feel like I’m living in the moment when I got the call that my son’s father was murdered, and they had found his body in the bushes where it had been for two weeks. I will never stop talking about the issue of gun violence and nor should we as a community until it ceases to exist.