“My superstar son! How can they take him away from me?”
Those words from Smokey’s mother, whom had lost her son just hours before to gun violence had kept me up all night. Her wails, and words will be replayed in my mind for a very long time.
I attended the vigil for Jahvante “Smoke Dawg” Smart, age 21, at the Metropolitan United Church on Monday night. The lost of another friend, another community member, to a senseless act of violence. Our city is filled with senseless violence and death. Toronto has seen too much lost in our city and I implore those to stop.
I know that our city has grown in population and the recent popular culture within the younger generation has inspired many to rise up and feel empowerment. I see the confidence and the hype growing that has made our city well known. With the confidence growing, so has the misinterpretation and the invitation of violence.
We are in a position now to empower each other so that our community can flourish rather than to be ripped apart.
This year, far too many mother’s have had to bury their children because the wrong words have been said. Instead of trying to work it out and setting an example to the younger kids that our watching, we have turned our city into chaos and unsafe. We need more community leaders to empower one another and to promote positivity and peace so that we don’t lose another Smokey.
Monday night, I watched many young kids who looked up to Smokey attend the vigil and I beg that their summer is not filled with vigils and moments of silence. I pray that these youth, don’t believe that they don’t have a chance to make it out of their communities because of the rise in gun violence. I pray that I, and others, will not hear another mother screams of agony and pain for losing their son or daughter to violence.
We have progressed so much over the recent years and have seen the amazing potential of our community. These recent events have set us back, and I again pray that we can pull and learn from this and end the violence. We can all make it. There is room for all of us.
To Jahvante and to all the lives lost in 2018, may peace be upon you.
To our community and for Toronto, I pray that the violence can come to an end as we have seen too much blood shed and lives lost. Toronto is better than this. Let’s show the world that we can end the violence and be better. Do better.