On Saturday, April 27th, I attended the funeral of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant IIIwho was gunned down on April 22nd in a case of mistaken identity, according to reports. Alphonza’s promising young life was viciously taken just a few blocks from his home. Hundreds of kids, probably 500 or so, came to his funeral that day; they cried, laughed, joked around, and then I watched them dust off and walk away, back to their normal lives. I watched in amazement as these young people appeared to be so desensitized to the shootings and killings.
How can we let something like death, the end of life, become so regular and so normal to these kids? What are we doing?
Why isn’t there enough attention being paid to the deaths of young Blacks and Latinos? In Newtown and Aurora there was a sense of urgency as there still is today. And there should be!
But what about our youth and our communities?
During a speech at NYPD headquarters this week, New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “A Bronx resident named Alphonza Bryant (pictured) was shot and killed while standing with friends near his home. He was 17. Like most murder victims in our city, he was a minority. As I said earlier, about 90 percent of all murder victims in our city are Black and Latino. Do you think that if a White, 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan had been murdered, the Times (NY Times) would have ignored it?”
What Mayor Bloomberg stated is what we at National Action Network and others have been saying for years.
Do we really think that if kids in Beverly Hills, the nice suburbs of Chicago or the Upper East Side were shot and killed on a daily basis like those in Brooklyn, the South Side of Chicago, or Compton, there wouldn’t be more outrage? Do we really think the mainstream media would be so silent in covering this epidemic? Do we really think so many of our politicians would ignore their deaths as if their lives don’t matter?