” . . . You See, What Had Happened Was . . .”

kevin hart what happened


Happy Friday, All!

Of course, I have to give credit where it is due … so … T.G.I.F.!
It’s been a rough week down in several Miami neighborhoods with so much gun violence.  Fortunately, the teens who caused the death of the six year old boy “King” have turned themselves in!!  Miami has had multiple shootings over the past few weeks … at a middle school with bullet proof glass … and at a high school where no one was hurt …. Yet, three or four teens were shot … one in the elbow and the other two more seriously wounded.  The only one who was killed though was 6 year old “King”.  His parents are a young African American couple and they both spoke publicly and organized an event advocating “Stop the Violence” in that neighborhood where King was shot and killed.  He didn’t have a chance, as a stray bullet hit him in the chest as he played outside of his front door.
The African American teen boys turned themselves in after realizing that they had killed an innocent little boy in the crossfire of a senseless display of gun violence stemming from harsh and threatening words exchanged … not only that … but on Facebook!!  They both apologized passionately to King’s parents as they turned themselves in to the authorities.  They didn’t realized what they had done … and now regret it.  That’s a decent thing … and, that this horrible event is being handled by the parents and that community in an incredibly spiritual way by using it as an extreme example of why gun violence MUST STOP!  The response in the community was tremendous!!  That’s how this sad story turned beautiful …
Last weekend on Saturday, I spoke to the participants of the Community Justice Program sponsored by the Broward Sheriff’s Office to help break that “schoolhouse to jailhouse” pipeline populated by many teens in Broward County Public Schools.  I had done some research on this and was privy to several panel discussions held in Ft. Lauderdale in the local churches and “round tables” a few years back.  It is a very real “pipeline” and needs to be interrupted by programs like this and another one I had the pleasure of working with with the youngsters involved in the Urban League of Broward County’s Project Embrace, which had the same goals in mind – to give the youth an option to receiving a juvenile record with their first offenses while in public school.  It was really uplifting and fulfilling for me, as I volunteered the services of Educational Excellence and sponsored a dual presentation focusing on Black History Month, which comes to an end on Monday, as well as a presentation on “Goal Setting: Short and Long Term” for these youth.  It went so well, that Mrs. Nicole Valencia Mercado has invited me back to speak with the parents of these same teens next month.  I am grateful for the opportunity, once again.
When we have a moment of “poor decision making” and have a conflict or problem, it is usually because “we” didn’t take our time, exhibit self control “in the heat of the moment” and said or did something that we may regret, as did the teens who caught young “King” in the crossfire of their silly dispute stemming from remarks on Facebook, causing him to lose his life, his parents to grieve deeply for the loss of their near infant son, and shook the community to its knees.  This is another reason why I practise yoga and meditation and involve myself in peaceful activities, even dating back to my ACORN days as a community organizer in Nashville and Orlando.  Those experiences have helped me to “think twice” before saying and then doing something irrational and harmful to myself and others.  This, too, is why I pass it on to the youth and advocate it as part of the “Stop the Violence” efforts and platform of Educational Excellence!

John I. Cook, Director

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