There's No Back to School for the Kids Who Get Shot and Killed

Aug 3, 2018 12:00:00 AM


Outrage: They’re Dying

More than 60 youth have been shot here in Chicago this year. At least 20 of those this summer and some of them won’t be returning to school this fall because they’re dead. Most recently, 17-year-old junior Jeremiah Kimble was shot on his way to work. And Oceanea Jones, a young lady who graduated from a high school I volunteer at, was killed running away from a gang in a case of mistaken identity. Kids like Alex King and Jada Hoffman were focused on planning protests against gun violence when they were supposed to be planning for prom. And it’s not just happening in Chicago. All across the country, kids face the danger of gun violence in their communities—especially in communities of color. Is this a rant? Maybe. But I’m tired of feeling anxiety when school lets out for the summer because more kids will be in the streets. [pullquote position="right"]I hate that they can’t enjoy their childhood.[/pullquote] And I’m tired of watching the news every day to find another young person has been shot or killed, watching their family members plead for the violence to stop. Who’s to blame? We all are. Policymakers who refuse to tighten up on gun laws. Parents who didn’t give their children enough love and support so they saw fit to find it in the streets. Schools and educators who didn’t believe in the kids. And instead of leading them to their dreams, pushed them out of school and towards prison. We all see what’s going on. We all feel outraged. But have we taken action?

Hope: Dreaming in Color

LeBron James’ school, I Promise, opened this week. When I read about the resources being offered I was jealous because I didn’t get all of that in school! It caused some mixed emotions, too. I wondered if this added to the equity issue—thinking that only a percentage of low-income students in Akron would benefit while the rest would be left to fend for themselves in the struggling district. And I wondered if the money would’ve been better spent if it went to a districtwide initiative that serviced more kids. But I told myself to stop trippin’ because [pullquote]it’s not everyday that someone does something this dope for our kids.[/pullquote] Then in talking to my friend Nehemiah, we discussed what it would look like if all Black millionaires and billionaires opened schools. See, some of them have already done it. Diddy, Oprah, Magic Johnson, and even Jalen Rose who recently got in his feelings for not receiving recognition for the school he opened. If we were able to get JAY Z and Beyonce on board, maybe Dr. Dre, Barack and Michelle, a couple of NFL players and some others who are passionate about education, imagine the change we’d see. I’m not saying that this will end the education struggles for Black America. But in a public school system that claims to struggle financially, is drained of resources, absent of diversity and insists on carrying on with a one-size-fits-all delivery, Black philanthropy and representation can go a long way.

Tanesha Peeples

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and advocacy of those that are often ignored. Tanesha wholeheartedly believes that education is the foundation for success. Her grand vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or ZIP code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. And that's what she works towards every day.

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