Youth

05 May

PATIO TALK WITH “THE FAMILY” 🖐🏽 MOMS

I talk a lot about my sons “The Family” 🖐🏽 but there are “WOMEN OF STRENGTH,” behind these young men who make them who and what they are. After interviewing them, Felecia decided we should tell our story too. I met Felecia, Terrod “Roddy’s” mom and Olivia, Quincy “Q’s” mom during basketball season at Franklin High School in 2016 and 2017, and I met Takeshia, Daniel “Danny’s” mom and Shenné, Elijah “E’s” mom after Samaad passed. In the end we...

27 Apr

“The Family” 🖐🏽 NOT A GANG Part 2

1. How did you all meet and when?Terrod-I met different people at different times, but we all came together as one between our sophomore year and senior year.Davon-Everyone I met in the Fives I met while I was in high school my freshmen or sophomore year. 2.  How did you end up calling yourselves “The Family?”Terrod-Honestly, Tyree. The 5ive emoji “🖐🏽” meant so much to Tyree and anyone who was considered as family to him, when he would text you he would...

24 Apr

WHAT PATH ARE YOU ON?

Life can change quickly. Understanding that takes a different kind of mindset, a different kind of person. People say that I’m strong. If they only knew that I pray for strength daily. What they also don’t know is that I’m a realist. To understand life I had to accept death as a part of it. I accept my life paths and journeys even though they change like moments. Allowing God to guide me and having faith is how I live...

01 Apr

“THE FAMILY” 🖐🏽 NOT A GANG

Samaad and his best friends/brothers call themselves “The Family.” The members are Omar, Syed, Terrod, Davon, Elijah, Davay, Obrian, Tyree, Dominic, Tayo, Quincy, and Danny. They are a group of young men who come from different nationalities, have different personalities, and each contribute something different to their friendship/family bond.  I was so intrigued with their love, loyalty and support of one another I decided to write about them to learn more about how they met, what makes them click, and why...

20 Mar

You Should be More Afraid of the Consequences than Your Actions!

Rationalizations make it easier to live with ourselves when we do the things that we want to do, rather than the things we know we should do. We know right from wrong; we were all taught this at a young age. What we never realize is that our actions could have consequences so deep to ruin not only our lives but our families as well. The fact that gun violence even reached Somerset, NJ still shocks me. Somerset is considered...

05 Mar

What’s at the End of Our Choices?

Every day I think of what could have been done differently to save Samaad’s life. There are so many questions and WHAT IFs. What if I didn’t have to kick him out because he was on the wrong path? What if he would have just stayed home that day? What if he never got depressed and fell off? What if that Coach never destroyed his self esteem? What if he would have never been on that block? What if I...

19 Feb

You Ain’t Tough, The Gun Is!

We have words back and forth. We are all up in each other’s face calling each other names, saying your Mama this your Daddy that. Talking about your clothing and shoes, your mistakes and boyfriends, and how stupid you are. It’s broken up and we go our separate ways vowing to see each other again and when we do it’s on! Later that day we get at each other on social media. Talking shit back and forth showing the world...

13 Feb

“A Woman of Strength” by Unknown

A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape… But a woman of strength builds relationships to keep her soul in shape. A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything… But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear. A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her… But a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone. A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future… A woman of strength realizes life’s...

07 Feb

Choices

Choices can make you or break you. Choices can make your life better or destroy your life. What choice did you make today?  I can’t not today! I’m too busy! I don’t have time for that right now! Maybe later! I have to go to work! I’m a single mom! I have to pay these bills! These are all words that I have used over the years. Nineteen years to be exact. That’s how long Samaad lived; nineteen years, six months,...

05 Feb

FAMILY LOVE By Alison Jean Thomas

A thread of love joins us all; It’s flimsy. At times it trembles; Almost breaks. A thread of love joins us all; It’s slender And sublte. But when things get rough, It tightens,  Becomes tough, And hauls us back together. This poem was dedicated by Dennis Manuel (Samaad’s Uncle)🖐🏽💙 ...