Young Hadiya Pendleton's cold-blooded murder should get just as much attention from the black community and general media as Trayvon Martin's murder.
I finally sat down to think about why Hadiya Pendleton's murder irked me so much.
It's because I was Hadiya Pendleton.
I was an honor roll student who earned straight As, cared about my grades and listened to my elders for the most part. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do as a child.
But I also hung around a "questionable" crowd as a preteen and teenager. My best friend in elementary school was already dating and had sex by the time we were in the 4th grade. She and most of my friends were from an area that was plagued with drugs and drama.
When I got older I continued to hang around people who had a lot less to lose than I did while continuing to do well in school. Even though I spent most weekends hanging with my homies (both boys and girls), I was still on my way to an Ivy League college.
Would Anyone Have Cared?
So Hadiya's death brings up a number of issues for me personally:
1) If I hadn't grown up in an area where the police actually cared and actively pursued criminals, who's to say this wouldn't or couldn't have happened to me or one of my other friends coming up?
2) Do black people only get raging mad when white people kill black kids? Why don't they get mad at other black people killing black kids?
3) As a young black girl, would anyone have cared enough to crusade for me? Or would my story have faded into the background after a few days under the chatter of the Superbowl or some other mainstream event? Would it have hit the mainstream media at all?
Which is why I admit, I became a bit upset when I saw my Twitter timeline filled with Superbowl chatter just days after Young Hadiya's death. Nowadays it seems that black people will only jump into a fight for their own if their favorite celebrity does too. The personal concern doesn't seem real.
But I realize now that all of this may be outside of my control. The fact is, we live in a society of narcissism and apathy and there are plenty of willing participants.
But I do have some power in the messages that I choose to transmit. I realize that I can't make certain black people care -- that is out of my control. But what I can control is my tweets and how much attention I pay to this particular case.
In Memoriam and Remembrance
My Twitter account is dedicated to Hadiya Pendleton news in the month of February 2013. I'd rather call this Hadiya month than Black History month, because so many black people just don't seem to really appreciate the sacrifices our ancestors made so that we could live free and have more fruitful lives.
Also, after this month the ClassyBlackLady.com blog will focus more on researching and posting positive news about black women rather than mainstream news.
As someone who traversed a similar path that Hadiya Pendleton did at the age of 15 and beyond, I'm sending so much love and support to her family with this post. I'm praying that the killer is found before he has a chance to terrorize another child or family.
Some of us do genuinely care about this tragedy and desperately want to implement a solution to the violence plaguing black communities across the country.
Read about how some of Hadiya's classmates have proposed a 6-point plan of action.