Unite For a Better Future

By Ashley Childs

Emmett Till was a child who was murdered by two hate- filled white men. His life became a sad lesson for Americans to learn. His murder in 1955 made it clear that it was time for black people in America to fight for justice and equality.

Things may not have changed overnight for African Americans, but they have changed. The criminals killing our children are changing. Black-on-black murder is at an all-time high. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, there were 6,329 black people murdered in 2011 and 2,247 of black homicides were committed by other black people.

It makes me wonder when everything changed.

At one point, blacks avoided predominantly white areas in fear of being lynched. But now in certain areas of America black children are wary of leaving their homes or even being outside because of other black children wielding guns.

I wonder when it all changed.

My grandmother Pamela told me that when she was a child living in Baltimore, she and her friends would stick close to one another to ensure each other’s safety. That was in the 1960’s. Nowadays children show hatred for and retaliate against children who live a couple blocks away for no real reasons.

Journalists from WBEZ radio covered Harper High School in Chicago for five months in 2013. They decided to tell this story, because of the number of students who were touched by gun violence. In 2012 alone 29 students who were either currently enrolled or recently went to the school were shot. The radio documentary was extremely sad to listen to, but it revealed just how dangerous the rivalries can be in predominantly black neighborhoods.

To me, the life of Emmett Till served as a lesson: Unity is the only way for survival and progress. If African Americans of today took the time to learn about their history, then they, too, would understand that lesson.

Things did not change overnight. But blacks have overcome: hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, segregation and being the targets of race hate. In 2014 I can’t see the progress as clearly as I want, partly because of the hatred we have for one another and also the separation we create amongst ourselves.

If African Americans want to be a productive part of the future, it is time we begin to unite.

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