What About Taj

As I sat here reading the passionately written spoken word poem “I Stand With You” by Jill Orban on Medium.com, the thought “You need to say something, Asha” pierced through my mind. “What can I say that hasn't already been said?” was my response. I thought of all of the videos my husband has shown me on TikTok and the countless others I've seen on the news. Everyone, everywhere is saying the same thing: IT'S WRONG! ALL OF IT IS WRONG… The MURDER, looting and rioting is wrong. The cover-ups, misinformation, and deception… IT'S ALL WRONG! I leaned back, closed my eyes and felt the weight of yet another injustice ravagin this country. The thought came again, “What can I say?” I was immediately met with: “Do what you do best… Tell your story”… On August 13, 2010, my son Taj Yohance Carraway Jr. was killed in San Bernardino, California. He was around the corner from our apartment with his girlfriend, sister, and friend. He was shot in the face by a gang member, also black, who had come down from Las Angeles looking for a fellow gang member who, coincidentally, was asleep on my couch. Although the majority of my son's friends were in gangs, he was not. The young man that shot him killed another black male a few weeks after my son. I was seven months pregnant. Taj's death was just one of many gun violence cases that shook San Bernardino during that time. My heart still aches for the loss of those young men who were close to me and my children. They were fathers who will never have the opportunity to shower their children with the love and compassion they each showed me. During this time of escalating police brutality and killings of blacks, have we forgotten the atrocities we have committed against each other? We're screaming “Black Lives Matter” at the police when we should be screaming it to each other! What about the domestic violence in our homes? What about the drugs we're dealing to and using with each other? What about the guns we're giving to our men to kill our men? What about the hidden animosities we have towards one another? What about black women who despise other black women because of the complexion of their skin or the thickness of their behinds? What about black men offended by the social status or financial bracket of another black man? What about the sheer disgust some black women have for some black men and vice versa? And what about the black children who have had to witness all of this? Like Taj… What about Taj? Before his death he witnessed these things. He witnessed the separation of his family because of drugs. He lost many friends to gun violence. He was even beaten by the police who mistook him for an adult — at 15 years-old. Then, roughly a year later, he was killed by a black male close to his age! What about all of the Taj's that have been taken after him by the demon we've named “black on black” crime? What about this: What if we stop abusing and killing each other? Maybe “they” will stop copying us… Maybe “they” will stop doing unto us what we are doing unto each other!

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