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This month is dedicated to the Respect of Life. If the actions of the last seven days are any indication we are a long way off.

  • Chicago- Derrion Albert, the 16-year-old who was beaten to death last week on his way home from Fenger High School.
  • Atlanta-  Atlanta Housewives fiancé AJ  Jewell was killed Fredrick Richardson killed at Body Tap.
  • New York-Kevin Miller  shot to death outside a car wash by a 16 year old.
  • Boston- Trina Persaud was murdered by Joseph Cousin, a gang banger who was attempting to shoot a rival gang member.

Yes I have heard the excuses before. We’re prone to crime, violent by nature, and poor and oppressed are all useless catch phrases.  Black on black crime doesn’t seem to be improving, but rather steadily getting worse by day by day. How could anyone who was on that street drive by and not stop this relentless beating of a young man. They beat him to death in the street with 2×4 boards. Thuggishness and gangsterism, misogyny, brutality and ignorance have become synonymous with black life inside and outside our communities. What’s worse is that we accept this kind of behavior by sanctioning and glorification of negative imagery and behavior.  Understand that our focus and priorities need to change, and that nobody can be relied upon to care about us but us. The violence we see and hear on TV, films, and in black music remains a contributing factor that keeps us on our self-destructive path, it is by no means the only reason.  We seem to be acting on a pent-up anger that triggers violent self hating aggression. What we need to do now is break out of the mold of acting out in ways expected of us. Angry men without focus aren’t a threat to anyone but themselves. Many of us adopted the simple disrespect for life. Our children are growing up with the lack of regard for themselves and others. They do not care whether they live or die. They would rather wear colors to dictate their worth and identity. We have disrespect for life and act out our aggressions onto others.The victims of this violence being women and other black males. When this happens, we all lose.

So what must we do? We must take responsibility, first and foremost, for both ourselves as individuals and as a culture. We must understand that our brothers and sisters are not our enemies. When you see wrong, speak on it. Intervene. It is the only way we grab the reins back of what has happened.

{For more from Oretha Winston follow her on Twitter}

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