Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Too Many Young Black Men Dying; Too Few Responding to the Tragedy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Too Many Young Black Men Dying; Too Few Responding to the Tragedy

Article excerpt

As the rap rhythm of "We Be Clubbing" infected the crowd at an

Arlington night spot recently, the disc jockey spiced up the

groove with the following lines:

"Put a peace sign up for Big Mike! Put em' up, put em' up," put

em' up!" he bellowed, oblivious to the puzzled looks from those

of us who had no clue as to who Big Mike was.

Sadly enough, I was to learn that the peace signs came too late

for Michael Price. Days earlier, he had been gunned down in

front of his home.

The guy who requested the memorial said it was his way of

seeing to it that Big Mike, a hair stylist known for his

graciousness with customers who came up short, would not be

forgotten.

I was touched.

I had to give this guy some credit for the manner in which he

directed his grief. He could have been somewhere planning the

comeuppance of the ones who took out his 27-year-old friend. But

here he was, scavenging the confines of his environment for

materials for a makeshift tribute.

But despite his good intentions, the episode left me troubled

nonetheless.

I left the club that night wondering whether the murders of

young black men are being treated too cavalierly. I left

worrying whether the fact that black men younger than 34 still

lead the nation in homicide rates is being absorbed as urban

machismo culture when it should be challenged as an urban

crisis.

Worse of all, I left wondering whether anyone in the throbbing

crowd of partiers would even think about ways to process that

party call for peace into a call for action.

That just isn't happening enough.

Certainly I don't expect for all the clubbers who put up a

peace sign for Big Mike to go out and start a foundation for

him, or sign up with a posse to find his killer. …

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