Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
As folks debate a concept on twitter that marginalizes Black women and puts them on the defense because they are essentially being blamed for Black fatherlessness, I am thinking of the young woman in the photo above. Her name was Shannon Braithwaite and two years ago, she was murdered by her cousin Tiana Brown; they were both 15. I knew Shannon, so this is very personal. I didn't know Tiana, but I feel for her as well.
Tiana obviously had problems, and Shannon asked her mother to take her in. Two days later, her mother, Marva, walked into their apartment and found her baby in a pool of blood.
The trial began yesterday in Brooklyn Superior Court and while I suspected that Tiana had some deep-seeded issues, I could not have fathomed that she was raped by three men at the age of 13 and that the man she knew was her grandfather was really her father — she, herself, was the product of rape.
Tiana never got the help she needed. I am betting that Tiana's mama never got the help she needed. This suffering is cyclical. This suffering is intra-generational. Now, Shannon's family is dealing with the loss of her baby; the beautiful, bright being of light, Shannon.
There are some of us Black women who are climbing the class ladder and our lives have become typical of those who are comfortable; we have financial planners, take international vacations, enjoy good educations and the like. As we climb that ladder, some of us are reaching out with our hands and our hearts to bring others along, while some of us are playing the blame game and positing ourselves as better than those who "have not" made it. Which one are you?
If there were more of the former in Tiana and her mother's life, maybe, just maybe, they would have gotten the help they needed, but I bet you the latter was there, playing the blame game, making themselves feel better and not offering any sound, tangible solutions.
I ask you, as you go about the rest of your week, think of Shannon, Tiana and their families and the pain that they are all going through. Then, think about how you can work to positively change the life of one Black girl, particularly one like Tiana, who deserved love and healing.
Shannon, you are missed. Tiana, I pray for you.