Wear Orange and Value Life

                                                                              Wear Orange and Value Life

     Last year, on my daughter's 17th birthday, my son sadly told me he heard his play god-brother, Curtis L. Johnson had been shot and killed, and his mom does not know anything about it. I asked where was he and ran to the scene. Thinking it was worth a try to pray to bring him back to life.  When I got there...he was gone to the hospital. While there, a police officer asked his God mom when was his birthday and she said "Jaxton's birthday." So I told the officer my son's birthday. When I got home, it came to me the correlations. He was born on my son's birthday, but transitioned on my daughter's birthday. I thought was God trying to tell me something. 

     Fast forward,  I recently saw on social media Curtis's mom, Tara Johnson asking everyone to wear orange in honor of her son losing his life to a gun. With the support of an organization called "Moms Demand Action". The event was being held for mothers, fathers, faith leaders, and concerned citizens of Memphis Area.  So I attended and encouraged others to do the same.  My childhood friend, Judge Jayne Chandler Levin met me at the event.    

     There were many speakers such as Memphis Mayor Strickland, Terri Lee Freeman Civil Rights Museum President, a Faith Leader,  Senator Lee Harris, and  Amy Weinrich (Shelby County District Attorney).  National Civil Rights Museum president stressed,  "We have got to do something folks."  There are too many guns in the hands of those that do not have the mindset to manage a gun safely and properly.  Tara Johnson and Tara Thomas (an aunt and niece) spoke. They both had lost their sons to guns within a couple of months of each other.  The audience was enlightened that throughout our country there were 200 events taking place.  Amy Weirich  (Shelby Co District  Attorney) ask each of us to accept the challenge and take a piece with you from the event. Hers was the laughter of the children. Ask yourself  what did I do on this day (and everyday) to bring out the laughter in the children.  Senator Lee Harris told the crowd, he recently returned from a meeting D.C. discussing gun violence and the U.S. is plagued with the problem through out our country.  However, there are solutions. He mentioned childproofing guns, designing heavier triggers, improving gun usage by using technology for finger print recognition on guns. He also mentioned tracing the origin of guns. He pointed out that those who shows up at events like that one are activist, and activist's events are where changes happen. Mayor Jim Strickland named June 2nd "National Gun Violence Day"  in our city, like many other cities in our country. He also stated the orange lights at liberty bowl would be on. He shared that Memphis had 91 homicides in the first 154 days is a serious problem. He said he thinks of all the lives not being allowed to experience their full opportunities/realize their full potentials.  

   I am proud to say that Memphis police supported the event. Also, the Tennessee Capitol Building was lit with orange lights for that evening. The organization "Moms Demand Action" began in light of the Sandy Hooks students and teachers were shot and killed. She pointed out she dreams of her children growing up in a safe community. She found volunteering as a mom with moms to be very rewarding.  The organization supports and bare witness for the Tara's in the world. We need to show unity in our communities. This organization was successful in stopping a new law that pushed against the no background check to carry a gun in Oklahoma. It did not pass.  They shared the following important points:

*The present problem is 90 die daily, while hundreds more are injured by the usage of guns.

*Suggested something as simple as asking a parent if they have a gun in their home. If so, would they lock them up safely, when and if they invite your child to visit their home. 

*The African proverb was mentioned...."If you want to go fast go alone. But, if you want to go far .... go together".  

*There needs to be unity in our community.  

*Desmond Tutu .....was quoted ... "My humanity is bound up in yours." No matter what gender, race, and intellectual level. 

*Perhaps our greatest fear is ...we are powerful. When we speak out it gives others the feeling they have the right to do the same. 

*All of us have something to give. * We each have a responsibility to sign petitions and speak out against gun violence. Our citizens need to learn how to cope with life and realize the answer is not pulling the trigger.     


                                                                      Pictured: Tara Thomas, Tara Johnson and Mayor Strickland

     On display was a quilt of the faces of the love ones lost to gun violence.  Also, Civil Rights Museum has on display cards written by the love ones in memory of those who lost their lives to gun violence. Lord E D dum dum, time to go .... I can not tell it all... but, what a moving day!!!! Until next time ... encourage others to value life by conversating, giving a smile and sharing agape love. Check back on us at N-TouchNews where everybody is a star!!! 

LeNiece Woods

LeNiece is a retired elementary teacher from the Memphis School System. She has been blogging since 2014 on social, political and cultural issues. 

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