A LETTER TO CHICAGO…
Peace Chicago, I hope you, your families and friends are well during our arduous times…
As you know, gun-violence in many ways is gripping our city and America like a bible plague. My family has and is dealing with the issue of gun-violence for the past 40-years. Just like some of you, I grew-up with my mother being single with four-children; two girls and two boys with my sisters being the oldest. My first experience with Black-on-Black crime, I was a little boy when my Uncle, Levi was shot and killed on the corner near 81st and Emerald during the early 1980s. During the mid 1980s my second oldest sister got influenced by a street organization and eventually joined. In 1988, due to physical abuse, she shot and killed her ex-boyfriend, the father of her son, my nephew. I had to teach my nephew who was only 18-months at the time my sister shot his father to protect herself and him the importance of forgiveness that he had to forgive his father posthumously. I had to share with him that his father was a good guy, but had anger issues and would physical beat-up his mother. I saw it. I was like 14 or 15 years of age, 4ft-10, 80lbs or so wishing I could beat up my sister’s boyfriend myself, but he was a very talented wrestler for our high school and I had no chance.
I had to continue cultivating the spirit of forgiveness with my nephew that he could forgive his mother too. She served 3 1/2 years for man-slaughter. I had to teach my sister forgiveness and the importance to forgive herself. My sister and my nephew have a great, but challenging relationship. In 1992, my senior year at Central State University (HBCU) in Wilberforce, Ohio my younger brother, Lemont, 17 was kidnapped from our block and brutally murdered. Lemont’s intrepid act protected his friend, Kim, 14. In 1994, one of my cousins was shot and killed execution style on the same day as my brother. Due to the trauma from my brother’s death, I was to emotionally distraught and afraid to attend his home-going. In 2011, my oldest sister’s son, my nephew being in the streets was shot seven times hustlin’ and gamblin’, but survived. He knew his shooter, but because of the street code, he didn’t snitch. He served time for contempt. A few years later in 2014 my same nephew still in the street life, he was shot again by a different shooter and survived again. Yes, still living by the street code, he didn’t snitch. He just got out from sitting for several months for just being around his boys in the street life, because of his record and parole violation. Though I have been living in Los Angeles, for the past 14-years, I am still ocean deep in it. Sometimes, to this day, I am trepidacious about answering my family’s phone calls, because of the tumultuous trauma of getting the phone call from my sister about my brother on Sunday, January 11, 1992.
Unfortunately, this horrific pain is not unique to myself. This type of pain as Black Chicagoans know, is common in the Black community. So, I do not share my personal story with you because, I want you to pull out a violin. I share to highlight for White Chicagoans to understand that Black-on-Black crime is also due to systemic racism, institutional oppression, social injustice and poverty. NOT because we hate each other. Our communities have been pre-design to be urban war zones. Our neighborhoods are set up to be concrete jungles. White supremacist in every field of endeavor have set the system up for us to fail. However, we as Black Americans must be the olive branch and life line for each other. I made it through my tumultuous pain to graduate from Central State University on Saturday, June 14, 1992 with the support of my classmates and fraternity brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Zeta Chapter. Over the years, I have been tenaciously working creatively to share my solution and my art from my studies at Central State University to Vermont College, abroad in Oxford, England, Edinburgh Scotland to Bakersfield, California. My story is not just about the moment, but about a cultural and artistic movement, Black Lives Matter. I spent a year abroad studying in an Advance Literary Program at Oxford Brookes University. For the past five-years I have been volunteering as a parent at my children’s schools teaching K-5th graders the importance of creative self-expression through poetry and visual art via my children’s anthology of poetry. I spent a year abroad studying in an Advance Literary Program at Oxford Brookes University. For the past five-years I have been volunteering as a parent at my children’s schools teaching K-5th graders the importance of creative self-expression through poetry and visual art via my children’s anthology of poetry. I wrote, met and forgave the killers of my younger brother, Lemont, 17. Please share with every Black (young) man you know in Chicago (America) via your social media platforms…
Black-man in KKK garb to stop (Kidz Killin’ Kidz):
Critically acclaimed film short self-titled, kweisi:
The Love Story behind Innocent RAGE:
- Store Name: KWEISI GHARREAU
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