This past week Forgiving For Living, Inc., taught a class on self esteem to a group of young ladies in Watts we meet with monthly. Before the class began and while we were waiting for some of the other young ladies to arrive, I decided to go around the table and ask what was a highlight for them since the last time we were together. What I found a little shocking and puzzling was several of the girls shared they went to the cemetery to see one of their loved ones "rest in peace." I'm not totally sure the age of the dearly departed, but I could tell he was a young person.
What makes me write about this particular situation is because more than one of the young ladies in the class shared this same sentiment. As I began to reflect on their conversation and emotions, I thought about how all of us are a product of our environment and the way we process things or navigate through situations is based on what we are exposed to. For these young ladies if death (whether through gang violence, murder, or just random acts of violence because of their location) is something they face on a regular basis, they begin to possibly build a wall around their emotions and they may even begin to see death as a way out.
I feel that we as adults need to do our best to try and help our youth hold onto their innocence and hope for a better future. As I sit and write this article my mind drifts to the saying, "you can take the person out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the person." (You can also exchange the word "country" for other words to describe a person's location). But, I want to beg to differ. If we replace negativity with positive thoughts and a plan or process to a better life or situation, I believe all things are possible. I didn't come from the same exact situation as the young ladies I mention in this story, but I did come out of a desperate situation that may not seem full of hope, but because of a few individuals that touched my life in a positive way, I sit here today writing to you. One person can make a difference and touch a life.
Healing Without Hate: It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!
Visit www.WendyGladney.com & www.forgivingforliving.org. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow her blog: Wendygladney.blogspot.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Dominique DiPrima's Front Page Friday Mornings @ 5:00am.