There was a saying that has gone around for years that said, “it takes a village”. Contrary to popular belief, it did not begin with Hillary Clinton, but is actually an African Proverb. This truth is so ingrained into African American culture that many know the realities of what it meant and what lengths many people would go to in the African American community to ensure that a child would not bring shame to a family. For example, let’s say you happen to be a young child coming home from school at a time that you should still be in school; someone is more than likely going to ask you why, because odds are you have either skipped out early or were sent home for some reason connected to something you did at school. This meant, you were going to first get in trouble with the neighbor who saw you come home early, and then again by one or both parents when they were told.
Recent events of the Freddie Gray protests began to unravel when some people took to hijacking the movement to run amuck, vandalize, and terrorize. In the midst of all of this, there have been many brave souls to step between the police and the rowdy. Most recently is a woman many called “Baltimore Mom” until she was identified by CBS news as Toya Graham, mother of a young teen who was among the group cloaked in hoodie and mask. She confronted him because she realized who he was; and in her desperation to make sure that he did not end up the next statistic like Freddie Gray, Erick Garner, Michael Brown and so many countless other African American males who have faced tragic deaths in the midst of police interactions, publicly chastised him.
I seriously doubt that she was aware that cameras were on her at the time she confronted her son, nor do I believe that it would have made a difference if she had known. The reaction of some of the media in responding to her brand of parenting obviously was one of ignorance to the “village” method of keeping children out of harms way. Many in the community, and more across the country are well aware and applauded her actions, signaling confirmation that more “village” method needs to be employed by citizens so that a sense of order can be restored to some degree.
As those who are heading the true protests confer to strategize a plan that will put things back on track for the city of Baltimore, it is my personal hope that this event also proves that there are ways citizens all over can self-police their neighborhoods; not just in instances like the recent weeks have sparked, but at all times so that recent events don’t repeat or become the norm.
- ‘Mom of Year’: Footage of Baltimore woman slapping teen son for rioting goes viral (sbs.com.au)
- Parenting 101 Live on the Streets of Riot-Hit Baltimore [Video] (guardianlv.com)
- Baltimore Riots: Mother confronts son at riots (foxsanantonio.com)
- Twitter Reactions to Ray Lewis’ Emotional Plea to Baltimore Rioters (everyjoe.com)
- Baltimore man’s death in police custody sparks protests and investigation (cbsnews.com)
- Baltimore Residents Volunteer to Clean Up Damage From Riots, Looting (gawker.com)