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Eyanna Flonory was loved by many people. She was just 21, learning to be an adult. She had gone to Bunker Hill CC. She had a bent to study criminal justice. Her bright-eyed, son Amanihoteph Smith , was a gregarious 2 year old. Simba Martin (21) was Eyanna’s new boyfriend.
The rain drove down from low, dark clouds. The ground was saturated with water. The water blipped from the sidewalk, pounded off the church roof, seeped around highly polished shoes. It rained for hours before dawn, the hour before Eyanna and Amani’s funeral, during the burial and afterward. It seemed the insurmountable rain of a tempest minus the howling winds. Simba had been buried 2 days ago.
I went to the funeral of the 2 victims at the Baptist church in Mattapan, just 2 blocks away from the murders. Three of us from Friends Meeting went. The head minister, Bishop Borders, spoke of galvanizing the community to stop such violence. “I will go on a retreat and pray for one year. I am not the same person as I was last week….I’m asking God to change the city of Boston,” he prayed.
‘Yanna’ had many friends and an adorable child. Both were bright and eager. Not eager for death. The rains portended the rage that many felt because of Yanna’s death. The bloated leaden clouds witnessed our fear. The two were killed by gunfire while mother held her toddler. Four deadÂ and one with a bullet in his head who is hanging on for his life at Boston Medical Center.
This city is filled with sleek cars; we have Astroturf football fields; we have I pads and social networking. We carry around encyclopedias on small chips. We have Ben Affleck and John Hancock. We access a library of music by pushing a button and using earphones. But we are short sighted and hard put.
Because we don’t have ‘Yanna studying justice at college. We don’t have Amani giving his sponge painting to his grandmother. We don’t know who killed these 4 people, in short order on a street in Mattapan. But it’s not totally the murderers fault. We accept our children carrying guns. In 2010 almost 50 people have been killed on the streets of Boston; another 26 in MA have been killed in their homes. This is an increase from the death toll of 2009. So as a people we are spilling more blood, much of it our children’s.
What a crazy way we humans treat each other. Even cows, horses and goats figure how to live in the same pasture. The carnage in our cities is worse than a jungle. Humans seem to be defying evolutionary paths. Our species quite primitive, prey on each other due to anger and revenge. Even sharks have a better code of behavior.
The 20th century brought us Gandhi and Hitler. We have MLK and Milosevic. All of them acted with a sense of justice. Which path will we follow to justice? John Borders proclaims in a loud voice to stop the violence. …. “We need to work with a mother’s love….This is not a natural war we must fight, but a spiritual war.” Too many of our country’s laws reflect punishment and killing: the death penalty, flunking students, 3 strikes and you’re out. That’s not forgiving, it’s derogatory.
Personally I usually live in denial of such violence. I don’t walk down the street listening for gunshots like those on Woolsen St. on Sept 28th 2010. I work to stop greed, bloated military budget and family violence. I’m not a Mohandas Gandhi or a Mother Teresa to stop such senseless murders.
Stopping violence is not the same as working for peace. On October 6th I prayed for Amani and those murdered at the Morningstar Church in Mattapan. I prayed as the rain swiped across tall glass windows. I cried. My tears brought me out of shock: the pain hit hard, harder than denial. But a community needs to feel before it can heal.
Oh dear hearts, Let’s try to be smarter than the lemmings who run themselves off cliffs. Let’s reject homicide, suicide and infanticide as a species. The rain is appropriate. Our prayers are appropriate. The heavens are harbingers of change, but only humans are make it manifest. Our hands are made of love. Put our prayers into action. Let’s put our two hands forward and surround this problem. Otherwise the rain will keep washing our tears.