Yes we Can! (Can’t we?)

Quentin is 14 and ready to take on the world.

That’s what he told me, anyway, last Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, I and a few thousand of my new soul-mates-in-hope-and-American-optimism emerged from watching the Inauguration at the performing arts center. We shared the moment and the movement, and now it was time to document it for the 6pm news.

“So, Quentin,” I ask, “What does President Obama’s call to personal responsibility mean to you?”

Quentin did not even have to think about that.

“His call to responsibility means to me… improve not just the city or the country, but improve world peace, hunger and everything else.”

Wow, Quentin. “That’s a tall order! Are you ready to do that?”

“Yes I am,” he said.  And I believe he is.  Yes we can.

We, the people, spent the rest of the week on a high. Among all else, we have a leader who is a national role model for too many young people who didn’t have one.  Life was looking up this week.

Until Friday night.

On a street in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, the same old horrors converged: poverty, despair, injustice, neglect, anger, hardened souls and easy access to weapons. This time it was an AK-47.

Young black men, old Russian assault rifle.

The barrage of gunfire ended any chances for two teens, not even a week into what could be the most hopeful era in a young Black American’s existence.

Tuesday’s party is over.  And there is work to do.


One Response

  1. Reality sets in, we open our eyes and the dreams and hopes lasted a mere day or two; a ‘most hopeful era in a young man’s existence’ suddenly dims, then flickers out—–all in the day’s reality of that young person returning to his/her real world and existence.

    Role models, perhaps a newly-elected historical Chief Executive——–their wisdom and vision reaches just so far, til the reality of the world and surroundings of those ‘young people who didn’t have one…..’ sets in once again. In the cold of nite, several gunshots ring out and pierce the nite, police sirens rage, local media cameras and their reporter try and make their way past obvious crime scene lines to be the first to make the big story for the nitely report;and amidst all this, that young wanting, deserving person, sans of a real role model watches, as his same reality once again sets in that perhaps you experienced as you returned from viewing the euphoric history of 01-20-2009.

    Often we mistake ‘what is’ for ‘what might be.’ A reporter sees the world, not always in terms of the reality of the scene or historic moment, but in what might need be later condensed into that two to two and a half minute nitely news item. The bullets ringing in the cold of nite in that ever-so-predictable Miami locale may have jolted the reporter in you just as much as it did the young American yearning for just one role model.

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