When We All Watch

What is the most troubling trend of children killing themselves on social media, leaving the world with a roar. The most troubling was the case of a Miami teenager, Nakia Venant in January 2017. She was 14.

FOURTEEN.

From what is detailed is this story from last year, she was in care of her adoptive mother who was having problems with her, and the relationship was contentious. Sometimes fourteen-year-old girls are indeed contentious. After twelve, life seems to come at you fast and your body outpaces your mind and mouth at points. You test limits, boundaries and discover all that you can do (and get away with). Being a teenager is never a totally smooth thing.  Especially, if your home life is less than idyllic.

  1. According to the story, Nakia was taken from her biological mother because of accusations of physical abuse. She was even reported to have been in 14 foster homes in 16 months. There is deep sense I got when reading this story and reflecting on this, which makes me believe this child was unwanted or was made to feel unwanted.

There is a need inside of all of us to feel loved, acknowledged and significance. Sometimes this is the trifecta that is missing in the lives of black children. Her mother allegedly watched and commented on her Facebook live feed as she hung herself, according to The Daily Mail.

Her mother denies she did such a thing (the comments ascribed to her where venomous to the pointthere was mention she was pulling this as a stunt for attention), but the fact cannot be ignored Nakia killed herself in the bathroom of Nth foster home withno one seeming to give a damn is troubling.

Black children should not be stockholders in trauma. They should be cared for and believed. There is a sadness all too familiar to black children and families. So often we expect to be left out, abandoned and familiar with trauma. We need not be. The fact that perhaps her own mother couldn’t handle her anymore, she had no permanence or stability, no roots, could have made her believe she was unwanted.

No child should feel that!

Is parenting hard? Hell yes. Is it worth it? Hell yes. In stopping our children from these cycles of despair and suicidal ideation, is to listen and believe them. It’s not a white people thing to talk to your children, reason with them and set expectations. Nothing is wrong with that. Radical love makes a difference.

We as the surrounding village have to pay attention also to the children we interact with, and moreover whom our children interact with. Childhood is hard enough, but life shouldn’t end with the world watching you die because no one believed you wanted to be here anymore.

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