[ENOUGH] Children Speak:<br />
âIt Feels Like Weâre in a World Warâ<br />

[ENOUGH] Children Speak:
‘It Feels Like We’re in a World War’

Middle-school student Mercedes Austin is Losing Hope That Things Will improve in her neighborhood

Mercedes Austin

by Mercedes Austin, April 15, 2013

[ENOUGH] Children Speak:<br />
âIt Feels Like Weâre in a World Warâ<br />

Mercedes fears the violence that killed Jonylah Watkins and others

When violence strikes and starts going at kids, the community looks at that. Violence is like a disease.  It rubs off on people.  Like these grown men; they sell teenagers and kids guns when really they shouldn’t.  One way violence is like a disease is when you shoot a person, the other person tries to find out who did it to retaliate.  So, now you’ve got these two people, or gangs, going at it.  This year in March, like a week or two ago, a little girl name Jonyla Watkins was shot when she was only 6 months old.  Whoever shot that baby has no heart. How could you sleep knowing you did that to a child who hasn’t got to even see the world or say her first words?  When she was shot, I was hoping it would open people’s eyes to realize that it is not good to kill or have a gun.  There have been so many innocent bystanders that died for NO REASON.  What did Jonyla do?  What did Hadiya [Pendleton] do?  Nothing.  That’s why people need to put the guns down and think.  That could’ve been your mom, sister, cousin, uncle—anybody!

I live in Chicago where it is called CHIRAQ.  Here in the Englewood area, it feels like we’re in a WORLD WAR.  Basically, it’s all about gangs and gang violence.  And the gangs don’t care.  If you live in a neighborhood where they claiming that gang like [the Black Disciples], [the Gangster Disciples], [the Black P-Stones] and more, that’s the gang you're in, even if you don’t want to be. That’s how they look at you, as a part of that gang. You can’t even say your family member or friend's name without people saying you're in a gang because it’s some type of gang named after them.

To be honest, I don’t think this world is going to change because the gangs are too deep in it.  I can’t say anything without somebody thinking I’m in a gang.  You can’t sing a song without somebody saying you're an "opp" [the enemy].  But I don’t gang bang.  I hope we as a community come together to make something that’s negative into a positive -- make the word gang mean people who help and protect the community and the YOUTH.

Mercedes Austin is a 7th grade student at the Dulles School of Excellence in Chicago.



(Top Stories on Our Sister Site)

Bobby Brownppr

Bobby Brown to Release Memoir

by Shantell E. Jamison

Stay in the Know
Sign up for the Ebony Newsletter