Black life, just like any other life, is always full of action. We begin many relationships that require us to “deal with people”. These other people deal with us too—our ways of sparking reactions from others brings them to us. In order to have friends, lovers, even families, we make people outside ourselves pay attention to our persons. Parents often act, whip their children when communication is impossible. Should our thinking about the people in our lives stop when we decide to make an impression? A connection exists between the action and the reflective nature of the reaction; how we act towards the other mixes the flavor of our relationships.
Far too many Black youth continue to be demonized, criminalized and murdered.
Enough is enough!
In response to this intensifying crisis, the Black Youth Project (BYP) has launched, “The Pledge”.
With “The Pledge”, we are asking individuals and organizations to close ranks around black youth and make a commitment to take action and fight with black youth as they confront a relentless crisis. We at the BYP believe that each person can make a difference by doing something!
If we each take action, whether it is starting a group, signing a petition, or mentoring a young person in your neighborhood, then we all become a part of the solution.
Stand with Black Youth!
93 years ago, a black youth decided to go swimming in Lake Michigan. The Lake, as most Chicagoans refer to it, had long been recognized as a segregated space. Although I imagine it’s nearly impossible to find a wave steady enough to place a Whites Only placard, folks were generally aware of the boundary. That day, July 27, 1919, the young black man swam into an area observed as reserved for whites. He was stoned and drowned. The police department refused to take action.
The response was a riot that lasted nearly two weeks. By the end of the violence, at least 40 people were killed, most of them black. Many black families were left homeless due to white mobs destroying black businesses and homes on the south side of the city. “Order” was not restored until the militia arrived.
This riot was one of many that occurred during the summer and fall of 1919, an epoch James Weldon Johnson referred to as Red Summer. In many cities across the United States, racial violence had erupted due to the growing number of blacks in northern cities, the tensions in the aftermath of the first world war, and job competition between blacks and white ethnics. The Chicago riot, perhaps the most notable of them all, began with the death of a black youth.