today in black history

June 20, 2018

Piano prodigy Andre Watts, the first artist to appear on "Live from Lincoln Center," was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1946.

The Hudson Family Tragedy

POSTED: October 30, 2008, 12:00 am

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  • PDF is saddened by the tragic murders of three members of the family of entertainer Jennifer Hudson and we offer our sincere condolences to the family. The loss of anyone to violence is traumatic enough but the cold-blooded manner in which Ms. Hudson’s 7 year-old nephew was slain should be a rallying cry across the country to curb violent behavior in our communities.

The Hudson family is not alone in experiencing the loss of a loved one to violence. This past week there were multiple shootings and deaths in Newark, New Jersey, and just several weeks ago a popular former Baltimore City Councilman was shot to death. The availability of handguns in our community is an epidemic. While these deaths may have occurred without the use of a handgun, it is clear that the presence of guns give the user extra incentive to use them.

One of the most unnerving aspects of the Hudson family’s tragedy is the killing of her nephew. While all life has value, the murder of a child is a particularly heinous act. Why would anyone shoot a defenseless child? It is an act of evil that deserves a punishment fitting of the crime. To imagine the fear of this child, knowing death was imminent, pierces our hearts but also raises our anger over the callousness of the perpetrators of this senseless act.

While we do not know yet who is responsible, let’s assume that the guilty party, or individuals if more than one person is involved, is Black. The likelihood that young Julian King was killed by a Black man should enrage us all. In a day and age when young Black boys are under assault in society, we should have zero tolerance and absolutely no mercy for Black men who harm our children. While the race of who committed the crime should not matter, since crime is crime, as a Black news organization we are incensed by the manner in which we are killing each other in our own community. Several years ago we partnered with a local New York radio station, KISS-FM, for an anti-violence forum for that very reason.

There is another issue here that we can’t ignore. It’s how Black women are settling for any man for the sake of having a relationship. This is not a commentary on the criminal past of the suspect in this case. There are plenty of individuals who lead a very productive and fulfilling life after being incarcerated. This is about the character of a man. In a day and age when many Black women are raising children alone as single parents, the urge to find a partner is great; whether from a personal longing, family encouragement or societal pressures. We hope more women in that predicament would resist that urge and move with caution in terms of personal relationships. Who is brought into a child’s life matters. It is one of the reasons why we must adhere to the village concept and support single mothers, and their children, even if we do not have family ties.

We encourage anyone who has information regarding an act of violence to speak to their local police. We must end the “no snitching” mindset that has emerged in our community. As AIDS activists warned two decades ago, silence equals death. Every effort should be made to put individuals behind bars who bring violence into our homes and neighborhoods. If that means turning in a friend or even a family member, so be it. It comes down to us versus them as this point, there is no middle ground. The sooner we identify, prosecute and jail violent offenders, the quicker our communities will recover. Violence also creates a barrier to the healthy development of our neighborhoods as families withdraw, children become prisoners in their own homes, and businesses turn away for fear of being victimized. Entire communities have become associated with violence and the result has been their rapid decay.

We pray for Jennifer Hudson and her family at this time. As we do for the many families in our community who have experienced a similar loss. It is time that we do every conceivable thing within our power to rid our community of the violence that has torn families apart. From cooperating with police investigations to forming community patrols to being more visible in the lives of our young people, it’s time we declared a national emergency on gun violence. This is not just a criminal justice matter. This is a public health crisis. We must act with all due haste to stop this epidemic.

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