Apologies for the failures of adults!
On behalf of Us Parents
by: Daphne Alston
Founder, Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters (MOMS)
Dear Children, On behalf of all of us parents, we want to apologize and say that we are truly sorry for the lack of parenting that we have given you. We are sorry for all of the bad decisions that we have made that have caused you to get a bad start out the gate. Sorry for smoking, cussing, drinking, using drugs, tending to our lovers, boyfriends, girlfriends etc. Sorry for not nurturing you and not giving you all of our undivided attention when you needed it. Sorry for not listening and allowing you to express your opinion when you thought that it mattered. Sorry for our drug addictions and alcoholism and all of the other mind-altering substances that we allowed to come first and then you second. Sorry for spending the rent money and food money and all the other bill money on buying drugs. Sorry for allowing you to go to foster homes, juvenile delinquent facilities and even to prison. Sorry for sending you to school with no supplies, no clothing or dirty clothes, shoes that were run over or too small. Sorry for you and your siblings waking up on Christmas morning with no gifts under the tree. Sorry for us not coming home all night for days and maybe weeks at a time. Sorry for leaving you alone with no food or shelter. Sorry for sending you out to the streets to provide for us by way of selling drugs or robbing and stealing and killing so that you can survive. Sorry for allowing you to go to jail and not having a working phone or an address that you could call home or send a letter.
Sorry for anything else that was omitted from this letter. This letter truly comes from the bottom of our hearts. When and if you allow us back in your lives and if it’s not too late, please accept our apology because we are determined to get our lives together. Being a parent doesn’t come with a hand book and to tell you the real truth, most of us have given you what was given to us - the apple never falls far from the tree.
Daphne Alston (on behalf of parents)
Sincere Apologies to Youth
by: Craig Powell
Founder & CEO, True Heart Children and Family
About 15 years ago, GOD dropped the vision on my heart to create the Don't Die Young initiative that would somehow advocate for youth. At the time I had no idea about what this program or initiative would look like, the only thing I was certain about was that addressing youth violence was really important to GOD. I could sense that seeing the blood of his children shed on the streets was breaking his heart and it began to break my heart on a new level. As a black man, I've always been concerned about the well-being of black children and especially concerned about young black males. My faith has taught me that GOD only creates greatness and we (society) have failed in helping young people to understand their greatness. With that being said, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to young people across this country who have been and continue to be put down, overlooked and targeted.
I want to apologize to youth for the systemic failures that have not offered the support that all young people need from an early age. The educational system has failed you, our politicians have failed you, the justice system has failed you, law-enforcement has failed you, and the faith community has failed you. You were never supposed to have been exposed to so much lack and as a result we have failed a generation of youth who have been discouraged and exposed to a sense of normalcy around violence. I would like to personally apologize for not doing enough throughout my life to support youth. Each time I see a news story of a young black man murdered, I ask myself if I could have done something to prevent his death. Could I have been more active in mentoring programs, could I have helped a community program raise money to help a young person? I take what happens to youth personally and I pray that more adults will do the same.
Where do we go from here? My prayer is that our social consciousness will continue to awaken and more young people across this country will begin to consider their life's purpose. For every system that has failed you, there is another young person born to transform those systems in the future - maybe it's you! I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement will continue to evolve and inspire black youth that their lives matter in every way. I encourage you to find positive adults and programs that can offer you a perspective about your goodness and greatness. Most importantly, I pray that you become or remain curious about the creator of this world and why he decided to create you - you matter to GOD!
Lastly, as I continue praying for young people, I ask for your prayers for this initiative that it will serve you and other youth in understanding why it matters that you Don't Die Young!
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