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Do they deserve to die?

They deserve to live.

Just yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Holman Leadership Academy.   It’s a small school based in the basement of a non-descript church on Chicago’s South Side.   Quite honestly, I almost cancelled my visit due to sheer exhaustion, but i didn’t want to let the kids down, so I drank an extra large cup of coffee, prayed for strength and I went.   I am so glad I did.

From the moment i walked my grumpy self in the door I was greeted by two of the most enthusiastic students I have ever met.   7-year old Nayla gave me a big hug and a warm “hello!”   Monica, a 6th grader who was slightly more reserved eagerly  started my tour of the school.   From that point on I was in love.

Thereafter, student after student welcomed me and showed  off their genius.   They were full of personality and just couldn’t wait to share what they knew!   I was astounded when  2nd grader Anayah began to explain some of the laws   and concepts of  Physics, including gravity, acceleration, kinetic energy, inertia and all kinds of stuff.   Unbelievable!

Now mind you, this was not some well-funded magnet school filled with upper middle class children of doctors and lawyers.   These were typical  inner-city children, some of whom come from seriously financially disadvantaged families.   These are the kids that so many of us are quick to write-off.   But here  they were, already well-versed in geometry, political science and with a clear understanding of what it takes to be a leader against the odds.   I was beyond impressed.

Sadly, however, in the backdrop of this incredible school is a community that is constantly plagued with senseless violence.   Where not a week goes by that we don’t hear of some innocent child who’s life is cut short by some fool with a gun.

The sad reality is that some of the incredible children I met yesterday probably won’t make it to see the age of 25.   Somebody in that school could very likely become an innocent victim of gun violence, thus robbing the world of a brilliant mind who could potentially change the world.

It’s a damn shame what’s happening here in Chicago.   What’s even worse however is the fact that there is no clear cut plan on how to deal with it.   It seems that we have just resigned to taking a back seat to what’s happening.   We’ve given up.   We’ve decided that there’s nothing we can do and that is more tragic than anything.

Do any of the children in the photo you see deserve to die senselessly?  Or, since I like to operate in the affirmative, a better questions is:  don’t they deserve to live?  The answer of course is yes.  But if we do nothing, the blood of the next victim will be on OUR hands.

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