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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
Letter of the Day

‘No longer will I be a statistic’


This past weekend black America wept as the Michael Dunn trial verdict was read. A mistrial or a mistake? That is the question I ask myself. As a young black man living in America, I weep. I weep not because I am a minority living in a Caucasian-dominated society. I weep not because hundreds of young black men are dying yearly due to gun violence. I weep because of the cruel injustice of the judicial system in America.

Every one of us living in a society where violence and hatred rule our neighborhoods should be weeping.

I do not fault the ruthless man who shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis. But the blame is placed on the judicial system, for Dunn must be judged by a higher calling. The crime he has committed is clear as day: He gunned down a child.

With a flurry of mixed emotions throughout this great land, I cannot help but look at myself in the mirror and wonder: Am I, a young black male, safe in my own community? Is it a crime for me to play the music I choose, however loud I choose? Or do I place my life in harm’s way by making this decision?

I choose to live. However, I do not choose to be a prisoner in the society in which I live.

We are the only ones who can put an end to the crime that has battered our country immensely. We have taught to hate, but not to love. We have fostered intolerance but shut our doors to tolerance. We have neglected peace and chosen violence.

The time has come to end gun violence in our homes, in our communities and in our schools.

The time has come to stand up for what is right and speak out against what is wrong.

The time has come to hear the voices of young black men like myself: “No longer will I be a statistic.”

This is not a time to fight hatred with hatred. This is not a time to cast blame on a man who was acting on cruel intent. For, he knew not what he was doing.

If we are to ever be the society that Lincoln, King and Kennedy dreamed of, now is the time to act. I am a young black man in America, and I say enough is enough.

Corey Givens

St. Petersburg