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 my life. Yes, I lost my son to gun violence, yes that hurts badly. It is the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. But, as time passes, I realize there was a reason for this journey. I realize that God has put me on a different path that I never envisioned. 

From 20 years in the trucking game to youth advocate, gun violence awareness Mom, One Family One Fight. Inc. non-profit President, to creator of leadership programs at the new youth center being built in town, to blog writer, to creating a basketball team, Team Maady Legends. Who would have known? Definitely not me! I had 2020 vision on some other business deals I was doing. This path, though, is a more fulfilling one. I will change the lives of the youth who are struggling with responsible decision-making and leadership skills. I’m fighting for the youth in my community, joining forces with law enforcement to promote the See Something Say Something Campaign, planning events to bring the community together to raise awareness of gun violence and handling our problems differently. I plan to make a difference just like Samaad did here in Somerset. He touched so many people and So will I. 

We live such sheltered lives as parents, always focused on working and providing. We do not realize how our kids are struggling. During this COVID pandemic, life has been able to slow us down and allow us to really evaluate our lives, our so-called “I’m too busy” nonsense, the time spent with family, long work hours, and our life decisions. Our paths changed instantly. The stay-at-home orders across the country, along with no food or basic supplies readily available, make you reevaluate what is important. In the same way my path was changed instantly with Samaad’s murder, so many others have experienced that same shock of a sudden, drastic change in lifestyle as I did during this time. The year 2020 will definitely be known as the worst year to some of us. There are more deaths and people dying alone than we have ever seen in our lives! 

Accepting your path is the key. Knowing when to stick and move is key. Allowing God to guide you is key. Just because your path has changed do not allow it to fold you. Instead, allow yourself to be pushed into that new path and accept that new journey as yours. Fall in love with the process and allow the journey to guide you to a better place. Along with my sons, “The Family,” we will continue to reach the youth, not just in Somerset, but all over the world by changing lives, one youth at a time. 🖐🏽💙