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By Tanya Wilson


Earlier this week, while watching the news, I was struck by two stories; despite them taking place in different states, they were connected by one theme ‘tragic’.

My heart broke as I listened to a young female student, standing at the microphone in defense of the closing of Waddell High School, “We are already fighting for our lives; don’t make us fight for our education.”

As I flipped the channel, my heart was broken even more as the news of Bobby Tillman, allegedly kicked to death by three young men while attending a party, flashed across the screen.

The young Waddell High School student shouldn’t have to worry about the conditions of the streets. Bobby Tillman didn’t deserve to loose his life while attending a party. The three young men that allegedly killed young Bobby should not have been desensitized to the value of life.

What is happening to our young people and why does it seem that some are planning death while living? A study conducted by the National Association for Psychologist, suggests that, many of today’s youth seeking to find value, appreciation and love often turn to the streets.

When you factor in statistics, reported by the National Center for Non-Violence, the picture is even more dismal. Teen violence and homicide is the second leading cause of death amongst 15 to 24 year olds, and the leading cause of death amongst African Americans and Latinos between those same ages, with males being the majority.

Because I believe knowledge is power, I think it important that we understand what some of the warning signs are, so we can begin to fight back for their lives. Psychology Journal, offers the following:

• Involvement in gangs or fighting

• Low parental involvement

• Discipline that is inconsistent, lax or too harsh

• Use of drugs or alcohol by teen or parents

• A history of violence in the home

• Emotional problems/lack of self control

• Injuring animals or people

• Lack of involvement in positive extracurricular activities

• Exposure to constant violence through media/games

• Poor performance and lack of interest in school

We cannot continue down this path! If we recognize any of these signs, we must take steps to change them. As I heard Maya Angelou say, “when you know better, you do better.” It’s time for us to do better.

Read more columns by Tanya Wilson, an inspirational speaker based in Charlotte. Find her on Facebook.

Other Tanya Wilson articles:

The audacity to stand and vote when President Obama isn’t popular.

Personal receipts reveal waste.