Justice, Injustice, the truth

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 

If he was alive how do you think he would be reacting to these shooting of young men?  Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and reaching home to my family Steven Askew who was shot last year in his car at the Windsor Apartment while he was waiting on his girlfriend.  To us these young men were innocent and was “minding their own business”.

There are conflicting stories on all three victims but do WE know the real truth.  They say it’s 3 sides to the story: your side, their side and the truth.  What was the truth here in these stories?  They were all young, African American and had no prior records on them.  So why shoot the victim verses another alternative?  Did the victims provoke them and the officer used unnecessary actions to maintain the situation? Parents want to know why! Police Shooting Missouri

According to Steven Askew case, it’s reported by Action News Channel 3 that “Memphis police were dispatched to the apartment complex at Knight Arnold and Mendenhall around 9:50 p.m. Thursday on a loud music disturbance call. When officers arrived, they said they saw a man slumped over the wheel in his car and they went to check on the man. According to Memphis police Sgt. Alyssa Macon-Moore, the man then pulled out a gun. Officers immediately opened fire, killing him.” The gun was registered and he was in a location that definitely needed protection.  Did the police officer over-react? Would you have done the same?  My belief is he could have just stated loudly, “Put down your gun!”  There could have been some alternatives that could have been done for all 3 victims but they weren’t taken.  Read the article yourself. http://wreg.com/2013/01/18/man-shot-killed-by-memphis-police/

There is a lesson in all situation.  Although African Americans are judged quicker, let’s not give them a reason to.  If you are asked to stop, then STOP.  Don’t start confrontation with the officer and don’t bring attention to gather a large crowd. Be submissive to the officer and remember the officers name and badge number if possible; but don’t get smart and say I have your badge and name and will make sure that you get it.  Officers are human and they get pissed just like you and sometimes going by the book is not on their mind.  We understand officers are here to protect us and keep us safe, but how far do you think they should go to make a person stop or get their point across?  How much necessary force is needed?  This is dedicated to my aunt who will forever mourn the lost of her son. These families are hurting and they want answers now!


Life after suicide

Imaged after you get a call saying your brother was found dead on the side of the road with a gun inflected wound to the head.  He had just committed suicide and he left you this note:

“I wanted to start by saying this is not anyone’s fault but mine.  This is my decision and I did not base this on anything anyone did, said, acted, or anything else.  I have had this on my mind for the past few years, probably since high school.  I made this decision because I am tired of being hurt and depressed.  I have been in pain of some sort everyday of my life.  The most hurtful is knowing and leading a good life and realizing that what I do does not matter.  I want to be remembered as a servant leader, thoughtful, generous, fun and intelligent  person.  About 2 years ago, I was diagnosed as a “high functioning” manic depressive (once known as bipolar). I tried my entire life to fill the glass of others with no regard to myself.  Despite what light you saw me in, that was the goal of my entire life- to empower others. Unfortunately, I chose not to continue this life and thus probably hurt a lot of people.  No one else should do the same selfish act that I have committed. I apologize.”


When I read the news about comedian Robin Williams had committed suicide, I automatically thought of this letter MY brother left for ME.  My response was how dare he leave me, how dare he commit such a selfish act.  Then I turned and said where did I go wrong, what did I miss?  At age 27 he took his life and I couldn’t ask questions why.  But his letter said it all.  He was tired of being hurt and depressed.  He was tired of being everyone’s else motivation but he wasn’t getting the empowering and motivation he needed.  He made people smile, laugh and feel good about themselves.  People saw him as an individual who had no worries because he always smiled.  Is that how Robin Williams felt?  He made us laugh, he made us cry and most importantly he had a family that depended on him.  But where was his help, his laughter, his outlet?

We look at people and see their smile and think that everything is ok.  But the signs are visible, we just ignore them because we believe it’s part of society.  You know the drinking heavily, smoking more than usual, selling their belongings or buying guns more often than normal.  Perhaps sleeping more or taking pills to fall asleep because they are depressed.  They may just say they are just tired and we believe it. It’s time to really look at the signs and acknowledge it.  One statement my brother, Norman Paul Nolen II, left me personally was make sure I said thank you, don’t say I love you unless you mean it and SHOW others that you care and don’t just tell them.  That bothered me because I wasn’t for sure if he said it in generalization or perhaps I did him like that.  Was that one of his trigger points?

In the bible it talks about growing through discouragement.  Paul thought about taking his own life. He “despaired even of life” (2 Co 1:8).  Yes we all have our ups and downs but do we have someone we can really talk to without being judge? Discouragement to me is only a temporary set back that we can overcome, IF we have faith, talk to someone and really look at the heart of the issue.  I know for my brother his trigger point was love and support from others who he had supported.  Yes family was fine but he wanted that outside love returned back to him.  When he was discouraged in his relationship, that was his last trigger point.  He had set his heart on it and when it fell apart, to him that was his last straw.

So what do you think Robin Williams trigger point was?  What made him make that decision that he couldn’t take it anymore?  We will never know?  All we do know is he left us with amazing memories that will last forever.  Since my brother’s death, I have made some major life changes and choices to help me cope with this tragedy. It’s been hard, extremely hard but I read his letter for that one sentence he left me, “Shun, you are the strongest most given and selfless person I have even known.  Be strong.  I know that it will be hard, but you are stronger that I will ever be.”  If you lost a love one over depression, what have you done to help you get through it?

It’s your fault young adults don’t vote

As of August 6, 74,757 (13.9% of the 537,223 total registered voters) have voted early in the Shelby County Election of 2014. 2.1% of those voters’ age range from 18-24. The older generations is concerned about these results. Why is the youth not participating in the election? Being an 18 year old who grew up in Memphis, I can answer that question for you. I will bust the myth that my generation does not vote because they cannot stay out the club or any other negative statement. The problem is that we do not know much about this process, ignorant on who to vote for, and some are too embarrassed to ask questions.

Personally, I did not know much the voting process. I really did not pay it any attention until I attended Memphis Challenge’s annual summer soirée at the National Civil Rights Museum this year. Cassandra Webster, the executive director, stressed the significance of voting to my fellow MC alum. She said that we cannot complain about the community if we do not vote. Her words abided in my head as I toured the museum.

She later introduced me to a candidate in this year’s election, and both of them asked me if I was registered to vote. I was ignorant about the voting process at the time, so I said that I had just turned 18, so I guessed automatically that I am registered. Ms. Webster corrected me, and told me that I will have to wait until November if I do register. I was disappointed, and I began to wonder how many of my peers have voted or even know about the election.

That night, I tweeted “RT if you already voted” to my 904 followers. I know that is not a lot of followers, but I just wanted to find out. Only two of my followers re-tweeted it, and one girl asked me what election was I tweeting about?

I also asked one of my friends if she has voted yet. She replied with a no, and said that she is only registered because someone from her government class in high school mentioned the voting process to her. She also stated she hasn’t vote yet because she knows nothing about the candidates.
Young adults are ignorant to voting. They don’t know who the candidates are or what they represent. Although Bridge Builders help young adults understand but that’s not enough. One teen said he said he didn’t want to give the power to someone who didn’t deserve it and that’s why he didn’t want to vote. During a recent survey of 8 ranging ages 18-40, 6 said no they had not voted and did not plan on voting. One lady stated she did not vote because her parents did not vote and she didn’t understand the elections so she wasn’t going to vote.

Overall before we start saying young adults want to be in the club, party and have no future, start to think have we or the delegates done their due diligence and educated the young adults on why they should vote, how it effects them and their future and who and what they represent. To get more of them to vote, talk to them more because they are our future leaders.

Written by Keturah Harris and Leshundra Robinson