RIP: A Reflection

‘This hits so close to home’ were my first words uttered after receiving the news of the death of my friend, who was just twenty-two years old. I wondered what his last words were before I read the story of what happened. I’d projected him as a “victim” in my mind, even though the news story would not transpire that way. He was my friend, so all I could remember was all of the happenings that go along with someone being your ‘friend.’ He’d found a gift of basketball at an early age, and everyone in the neighborhood thought he’d take it far because of his spurring frame. I, too, will choose to remember a funny, tall kid who played basketball, but if we are to emphasize the causes of life for our young people, sometime in-between these hoop dreams is an examination into the reality that makes one want to live beyond their means to the point of violent death.

I replayed activities in school of my peers slamming lockers and skipping class, which seemed like harmless fun back then. In the aftermath of the so-called “untimely deaths” of these same peers, however, I am now reminded of the rage behind slammed bedroom doors, holes in walls, and ripped screen-doors that make running away easier in our homes. In this aftermath, I wonder why running away is not only easier for some young people, but how running away becomes an option; I wonder what makes violence in Pakistan similar to Milwaukee’s violence, yet the global response to death of our children as a result varies from country to country. I wonder if I would have called another twenty-two year old man, who was shot running away in the middle of a street-crisis, a “coward,” instead of taking time to understand his victimization, if he hadn’t been my friend.

I will always recognize my childhood friend, but I will always remember our loss of him to violence in the street the other day. I will share condolences with friends and family on funeral day. But today, as I struggle to organize thoughts on how we begin to help our communities, I encourage the healing of our homes as a prerequisite. In the same day of my friend’s death, a 17 year old won the Nobel Peace Prize for demanding rights to equal education and fair labor. I wonder how the world can be rejoicing over a decision one young woman made and a family can grieve in another world over a decision one young man made. Perhaps, when we look to our activities in the school system and community, we must first look to our activity within the home.

Peace,

Sister Kahrima


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