Goal: Kill 140 Women This Week in NYC

I would really like to cry on the page right now, but I’ll get straight to the point.

NANA CAMILLE YARBROUGH sent me a sickening email today. It warned that this week is GANG INITIATION WEEK in New York City (as reported by the Department of Education to the New York City Police Department). The target/goal: kill 140 women.

I called one of my oldest and dearest friends to ask if she had heard this news. She is a Principal at a middle school in the Bronx. In a nutshell, this is what she reported, sadly: “It’s true. The ‘gangs’ in New York do initiations around this time every year. The assaults vary. They could range from robberies to physical attacks. I personally didn’t hear about a call for the killing of women, but I know this is gang initiation week and everyone needs to be extra careful. The rules change every year.”

So today, I’m working slowly because I’m heavy-hearted. Every day the hatred of women and the intentional violence against is allowed to breathe. Every day, our community turns its own pain inward.

I’m happy to remind you, though, about the domestic violence prevention summit that’s coming up this Saturday (please scroll down for details) because this is evidence that many people are aware and committed to ending violence (in its various forms).

At the same time, I am pissed off and feeling desperate. Erica Ford of LIFE Camp, Inc. repeats this a lot (and I’m paraphrasing): Not one of us has T-H-E solution, but together we can make serious progress.

Still, we have to add more light in our communities and uncover the inherent genius that is stored in each of us. Whatever we think we’re doing to enlighten those who seek to hurt us – or KILL us for that matter – is not spreading far enough, and it ain’t getting deep enough.

But I know this: the sacrifice of our time, our focus and attention, our poems, our money, our prayers, our wisdom, our two hours of mentoring per week, our forgiveness…our ‘something positive’ could actually prevent the killing of a woman today. I know there is a light-filled phone call or email or text or even a letter that could penetrate through someboday’s darkness today.

How much more pain and death do we have to endure before more of us can enjoy long life?