Friday, May 23, 2008

Young, Gifted, Black and Dead!!!

On a cool October day hundreds of people dressed in black make their way inside the First Church of Love, Faith and Deliverance in Philadelphia, The City of Brotherly Love. A pearl white casket lies in the front of the sanctuary. Pink and white flowers sit at its sides. The church organ plays the gospel hymn "Everybody Oughta Know." The church pews are full and mourners begin to hug the walls. Mourners have not gathered at the First Church of Love, Faith and Deliverance to say goodbye to a person who reached old age and died of natural causes. Hundreds have gathered to say goodbye to a person who only lived a handful of years. The small tender body in the pearl white casket belongs to 5 year old Casha'e Rivers. The anguished wails of a young mother echo throughout the church. 6 days prior, little Casha'e was riding in the backseat of her mother's car. As the Oldsmobile pulled up to a stop sign in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia bullets flew through the air. The gun was in the hands of convicted drug dealer Kevin Felder, who minutes earlier shot at a suspected drug dealer. Felder fired at the Oldsmobile, believing it was tailing him. Four bullets hit the car. One bullet tore through the trunk, and went through the backseat into Casha'e's back and out her chest.

Casha'e's obituary read as such:

Casha'e Dayshinea Rivers was born on Sunday April 2, 2001. She'd just started kindergarten and was already a popular student. Her favorite color was blue. She loved to dress up with earrings and a matching bag. She loved having her fingernails and toenails polished. She loved Happy Meals and Oodles of Noodles. She loved her trip to Disneyland last April. She loved doing the Wu-Tang dance and talking on the phone. And she especially loved everything Dora The Explorer.
She leaves behind her parents, her stepfather, two brothers, five sisters, her grandmother, grandparents, four uncles, nine aunts and her best friend.
Casha'e was murdered in 2006 in Philadelphia. She was the city's 287th homicide victim of the year. Philadelphia has earned the dubious nickname Killadelphia. Makeshift memorials go up every few days in the hood. Last year 392 people were murdered in the City of Brotherly Love. The year before that, 406 people were killed, Philadelphia possessed the highest homicide rate of any big city in the nation, surpassing New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. A large majority of the victims are black males. City officials and law enforcement have blamed the worsening economy,a dismal education system, cutbacks in policing and social services and the availability of drugs and guns.

The 2006 murder of Sean Bell at the hands of the NYPD and the recent murder of a friend illustrates a sad fact. Black America becomes outraged when law enforcement kills blacks. However, Black America seems quite complacent when murders occur on their blocks. We are killing one another and people have accepted it as the norm. The whereabouts of black leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are always questioned when black on black crimes occur. I'm well aware of how the media works, Al and Jesse may be in ghettos across the country leading marches on black on black violence but the news cameras aren't. I shall reserve criticism of Jackson and Sharpton. One person nor a group of people can save us. We all have to lend a hand. Don't wait until your child is murdered.


Anonymous said...

There is no love in this city of Philadelphia. Especially for those of us in our beautiful shades of brown. We have become a victim of our race not by choice but by chance. It was a very sad day when little Cashae was murdered but they did not shut down the city for her funeral. She never had the opportunity to make a single mistake yet she was dismissed as soon as the news stop covering the search for the black man that shot her. We recently lost one of Philadelphia's finest to violence and the city was in an uproar 20 cops were seen stomping some black boys due to the adrenaline rush of losing one of their own. Where was the adrenaline for Cashae? Why was there no televison show interruptions for her funeral. I am sorry that the cop lost his life but he lived his life, Cashae was 5. She didn't have children to carry on her legacy or a husband to start a fund in her name. I still remember you Cashae. I never met you but I still mourn for you and all the forgotten black children both living and not in this city.