[ENOUGH]<br />
Professor Raises Sons, Awareness

Professor Raises Sons, Awareness

Chicago State University professor Quraysh Ali Lansana strives to help the city's youth dream beyond the allure of violence

by Makkada B. Selah, May 13, 2013

[ENOUGH]<br />
Professor Raises Sons, Awareness

Photo courtesy of Glodean Champion Photography

Chicago Public Schools.

Lansana describes one class of his at CSU the weekend after the Trayvon Martin story became national news. There were a series of shootings in Chicago over that weekend including the murder of a 2 year old girl. In class that Monday, Lansana had a conversation with his largely African American composition class. He asked why thousands of people marched in Sanford Florida, but no one was marching in Chicago about the 2 year old getting killed.

"And my students told me because the Trayvon Martin shooting had to do with race. And I said: So the shootings over the weekend in Chicago didn't have to do with race?" Lansana contends that the black on black violence in Chicago is related to racial inequalities as well.

His students said: 'In Chicago, if it doesn't involve me or mine it doesn't matter because it happens every day,' ---a mentality that resonates in a poem Lansana offers from his latest book, mystic turf (Willow Books 2013)

dead dead

heat on the southside


last night, police cordoned the four square

blocks surrounding my house in pursuit of a thug

who unloaded on the shell of a gangsta

in the funeral parlor filled with formaldehyde

and lead. black folks scattered, staining

complicated streets. i settle in for summer:

the maze to the front door, running teens

from my stoop smelling of weed and tragedy

reminding my sons they are not sources

of admiration, praying that might change. not yet

june heat rises like the murder rate, gleam

and pop already midnight’s bitter tune


fifteen years ago, tyehimba jess

told me about a funeral home

with a drive through window.

you pull up, push a call button

through bulletproof glass a friendly

somber attendant takes your request.

moments later, casket open

your order appears for review.

at the time i thought it inhumane.

now i think about the abstraction

of friendship while counting bullets.


is there an extra dead?

what is the term for dying again

when already? killing chi?

and what of the corpses that walk

my block in the anonymity

of black skin and white tees

filled with fluid?

Makkada B. Selah is a journalist based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

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