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Archive for Black Mentors


My Baby Boy...Endangered Species in Todays Society--2008My son recently turned 15 years old.  I am concerned about him and all other males that are black, minority and non-minority.  The life expectancy is limited.  I will consider my years as a teenager and I will tell you. 

 When I attended junior highschool and highschool back in the 70’s  I do not recall anybody ever getting shot or killed by drive by,  gang related,  or stray bullets….ever! 

 When I attended a school in New Hyde Park Queens it was embroiled with race riots and such…but never was there a murder based on these issues.  A girl I attended school with had gotten a piece of glass in her eye from the “special bus” that we were riding. 

 The special bus was a city bus set aside to transport the minority bus students out of New Hyde Park from our junior highschool I.S. 172 back then.  The buses would ride right up to the school and we would board the buses and they would ride down Hillside Avenue in Queens to 169th Street.

One day there were white teenagers and they threw a brick at the special bus and shattered the window. My friend had to be taken to the hospital and glass had to be removed from her eye. The funny thing was her mother was white and her father was black.

She was the product of racial harmony, however she became the victim of racial hatred when the white teenagers tossed that heavy brick through the window of the bus she was riding in.  She had always been a quiet girl and pleasant to talk to.

 From the incident she transferred out of the school. I never saw her again. That was a terrible event that should of never happened. Nowadays the violence is either black on black or white on white possibly gang related and totally completely senseless.

People are being found dead in parks, deserted areas, and other areas.  My son was attacked by a group of kids from another school.   It was his graduation from Grace Lutheran to prepare for highschool.  What a mess. 

 My son and his friends, six of them were all assaulted except for one.  They had to literally run for their lives.  I was so shocked.  I had put him through 9 years of private school, sacrificed,  and went without inorder for him to have a good,  healthy enviornment in which he would learn how to treat and repect others. 

However, on his last day of school the principal had allowed them to have half a day.  The six boys wanted to play a last game of basketball and so they went to a elmentary school P.S. 34 to play. 

 However,  since they were not usually  in that area for any reason during the school year,  they found themselves  walking on dangerous ground on the gang of boys assumed basketball court.  The violence was not race related like when I was a kid.  Instead this was violence that was black on black only.  No ryhme or reason.  This was not West Side Story the movie come to life….it was some type of tribal war over a play ground. 

My son who has episodic seizures was stomped, and kicked till he fell to the ground.  Another kid had passed out from the brutal beating that he took.  My son and his friends told me that they had been attacked by atleast 20 of these pre-teen,  teen black boys. 

 Why I keep asking myself is this violence so prevalent in the year 2008?  Where is all of this leading?  My son has been playing tennis for six years.  He has represented his school on the basketball team.  He received a dogtag from his school for his participation in team sports.  He is considered a very nice young man.

Why were those other kids not in school?  Were those other kids truants or drop outs?  A sanatation worker saw the brawl and yelled at those assailents that she was calling 911.  The assaults stopped and everybody began to run. 

 However,  my son and his friends were all separated.  The Valdictorian was assaulted and left with a bloody lip.  Since my son’s school was Lutheran they had a night time graduation.  The kids went home and prepared for graduation. 

I was so disgusted because my son did not call me to tell me when it happened.  As a matter of fact he was with his friend,  a very tall chubby kid that did not get assaulted,  and I had just called the cell phone of his friend who had lied to me and said at 12:30 and told me “everything is all right.” 

Meanwhile,  my son’s friend’s statement to me could not have been further from the truth.  Now,  recently since my son is in highschool,  I have to pick him and and drive him to school everyday for medical reasons. 

I am concerned about his medical health, but I prefer to drive him because I know as a black male….or any male for that matter in today’s society—my son is an endangered species.

Do you agree?  What  do you think we can do as a society to stop the flow of crime within our society –especially the youth against one another?  What can be done to change this climate of hatred, and destruction. 

Any parent wants to see their child grow to an adult and be productive in society.  Where are the parents of the violent kids, and what can be done to help those parents take back their children from the powerful influence of the streets and crime.

What do you think?


About nine years ago we lost my husband to a catastrophic disease.  I had to start all over again from scratch.  I lost my house,  and credit rating,  my furniture, and my pets too.  I also lost my best friend–my husband. 

Many people in the church told me to start new memories and new dreams because my son depended on me for support.  My child was only 5 when his father was snatched from our lives. 

I found the National Academy of Jr. Tennis and Youth Development—Youth and Tennis, INC.   with the CEO  Bill Briggs in charge,  at the SouthEast Queens Roy Wilkins Park.  I saw my son blossom into Tennis.  I took him when was about 8 or nine years old. 

 He was a bit shy at first but he soon got the hang of it.  The Tennis coaches were the best.  The program runs year round.  In the summer they play in  Roy Wilkins and Liberty Park.  In the Winter they go indoors to the “bubbles.” 

 My son loves it!   He has alot of great kids to play and be associated with.  Every year they have a dinner dance called the Golden Tennis Ball and Award Ceremony that I try to participate in.  It is a fabulous activity!

I volunteer whenever possible.  It is a great program for all children.  Many of the community politicans have assisted have become friends of the program.  They have activities like T-shirt day,  Kids day,  picnics and barbeques!  What a great way to socialize in a controled setting!!!

My personal involvement has been singing two times for Christmas Party events held for the children.  I have also helped one time to conduct a Christmas carol part for the children.  It was great fun.

Loss of a loved one does not have to end  your own life.  Get out and do something!  Even if that means you volunteer at the local Library.  Try the hospitals too.  They love volunteers.  Volunteering does your heart good and takes you mind off the issues that haunt you.  Sometimes those issues can disappear. 

I know that my husband would have wanted me to go on and continue to do good and positive things in life.  I know because he told me.  He said, “No matter what happens to me take good care of my son–I know that you are a good mother.”  

He also told me not to stop singing either!  I have continued singing.  I have found so many positive ways to remember someone who had always been an inspiration to me—by continuing to do the things that he loved most about me!!!

My thoughts on the CEO Bill Briggs of the Youth and Tennis Inc.  is that he is a great,  great mentor of  youth in the entire five boroughs….not just Queens.   I have seen young people that have completed the program stop by to visit and pay their respects to this great man.  He is a mover and a shaker in the community!!!! 

We need to let people know when they do a great job—We need to show our black youth and children of all races,  incons  that support positive attitudes and character building mentalities. 

When my son took sick over the past few years Mr. Briggs took an active role and he asked my son how he was feeling!  I sent my son to summer camp and he felt the  bonding with the other tennis players and the coaches.  My son was able to move on from a negative circumstance of his illness and stay focused on the game of tennis. 

My son’s health is still being monitored, but he has been feeling a bit better.  Mr.  Briggs has several programs that I think are also great. 

 My son had gotten attacked by a gang just before graduation from junior highschool this year-  and he was really out of it for nearly a month.  He did not want to play tennis or even go outside.  I took him to the hospital because he was sleeping entirely too much.  The doctors could not find anything.

I called Mr.  Briggs and told him why he had not seen my son for tennis every Saturday since the summer had begun.  Mr. Briggs told me to have my son come out the next Saturday and contribute to “PROJECT GIVE BACK” in which he would have to donate a few hours of his time to the younger players as a mentor coach.  All he had to do was serve the ball and give pointers on how to improve the younger players game. 

My son was a bit hesitant to go.  But me,  I proded and pushed and he got back out there on the court.  Mr.  Briggs was even kind enough to take my son to the teen court after he was finished helping the younger players in the morning.  Soon after a couple of weekends of “PROJECT GIVE BACK”  my son got back on the courts and was excited to get back and play competitive tennis with his friends!!! 

It is difficult to explain how hard it is to tell your son that Daddy is not coming home again.  It is difficult to explain how cold and cruel life can be sometimes.  It is difficult to know how to hug away the pain of loss and feelings of  abandonment.  But I will tell you this—-I thank God for Bill Briggs and what the Youth and Tennis, INC—The National Academy of Jr. Tennis and Youth Development has done for my son,  and me. 

Thank you Bill Briggs for saving my son’s life and saving my life too.

Website: www.youthandtennis.org

 I will blog more topics on sports and tennis as  the spirit leads.