Every time I see a video, doctored, undoctored, marked by football play-like squiggles, imaginative captions, and flat out ignorant commentary, I want to scream!
Let me begin my rant by saying that this was a terrible tragedy and my heart truly goes out to her family. My heart goes out to her unborn children, the lives that she will no longer be able to touch, the laughter that was silenced, all of the future memories that will never be because her life was cut short.
Was she murdered? Did she walk into the freezer on her own?
The world may never know, despite the many protests, movements, and other methods employed to force the hand of the powers that be to bring about justice in this case.
But, let me tell you how you and I made errors in judgment that led to the death of this young lady.
I have heard many accuse her mother. Social media lit up with the hashtag #whereareyourchildren, in an effort to raise awareness about the current trend of parents who apathetically throw their children to the proverbial wolves, inadvertently perpetuating a trend or parent shaming.
Did anyone stop to think of how this would make her mother, who very likely already is beating herself up, retracing every step, driving herself mad with the “what ifs” of things that she could have done to prevent losing her daughter?
The fact of the matter is, her daughter was technically an adult, having crossed the magical threshold of age where society deems you as capable of being autonomous and making major life decisions on your own.
Despite long-discovered scientific research that indicates that the human brain doesn’t reach maturity until age 25, a discovery that has since been shifted to accommodate the newfound fact that our brains never stop growing.
But, to say that her mother should have locked her away in the house is shortsighted and unrealistic for any good parent looking to facilitate their child’s ascent into adulthood.
All we can do as parents is do our best to equip our children and pray that the mistakes that they will inevitably make don’t require much recovery time.
So, blaming her mother is wrong.
Then, people moved to blaming her friends, these children (because that’s what they are).
It was disgusting.
People went so far as to wish death on them!
It blew my mind that strangers, basing their entire knowledge of the crisis on a few live videos where they may or may not have heard voices, may or may not have seen figures reflected off of sunglasses and phone screens, could condemn these children, who were victims in many ways themselves.
This is not to say that things could have been different if her friends would have adopted the same code as my friends did back when my better judgment took a back seat to having fun and enjoying my freedom with my friends.
We had the unspoken yet understood code that we looked out for each other.
If one of us went to the bar or a hotel or, hell, even the bathroom, the whole crew was going or, at the very least, we went in pairs. We had NO problem overriding our friend’s faulty suggestions or demands to leave on their own or being pressured by some dude with an agenda.
Even if we had to fight our friends.
We could at least nurse our wounds with the confidence that we had done our best to be a real friend, despite the outcome.
We held each other’s hair back and puked together, sleeping it off in the safety of each other’s company.
And if someone wanted to have some adult alone time with someone, we had NO problem taking pictures of faces, Ids, cars, license plates, and letting it be known that at least 10 other people would be sent said evidence for future use if need be.
Or we would agree to wait outside the door with our ears plugged until they were finished.
Just as long as when we left, we did so together.
But, again, even in this regard, there was a lot of finger-wagging and blaming of her friends because they did not follow this code.
And this is SO wrong!
Why, you ask?
Think about the culture that we have created that these kids have grown up in.
Social media has told them that the people who claim to care about them are content with talking to a wall rather than interacting with them.
And when they post things that interest them, they are demeaned and attacked, told that they shouldn’t post those things.
Or they come across hurtful memes that literally say that no one cares about what they post.
They have grown accustomed to DM hookups.
So much so, that the idea of being respectfully approached and asked for something as simple as a date is now deemed an antiquated notion and unrealistic in this day and age.
And instead of speaking out against it, the older generations just fall in line like neutered dogs.
People are born.
We leave our likes or condolences accordingly and scroll on to the next juicy tidbit or mindless distraction.
We are afraid to speak our opinions.
“I ain’t trying to be in nobody’s business,” is the go-to cop out.
We are afraid of being touched just as much as we are to touch.
But, now, we want to respond in outrage because an establishment, who has a lot at stake and has already lost a lot themselves already, to be some magical Sherlock Holmes or may or may not be withholding information for whatever reasons?
When is the last time that YOU reached out to check on someone?
Showed them that you cared?
When is the last time that YOU reached out to help someone to see a new perspective?
Shared your experience to help make their path smoother?
When was the last time that you chose compassion over judgment?
Risked the irritation or anger of someone that you cared about in the name of being a good person?
Looked for the similarities rather than the differences?
When was the last time that you were a source of encouragement, healing, and relief for someone else?
Told someone that you loved them, not mechanically, but because you felt it from the bottom of your heart?
Or have you resorted to cynicism, convincing yourself that no one cares? Vowing to remain in complacency, resort to childlike thinking such as, “Well, nobody ever did it for me, so I won’t do it for anybody else”?
If so, you are part of the reason that Kenneka Jenkins is dead.
I truly believe that if these things were addressed individually, we could take back our collective power as people.
A young lady with so much to offer this world might still be here.
We don’t know the height or depth of the loss that we experienced.
And we ALL experienced this loss, whether we acknowledge it or not.
But, it’s not too late to prevent this from happening to someone else.
My soul does not even have the strength to address the shameful “challenges” that have sprung up like weed from this tragedy. But, should we really be surprised, in the day and age where there are few lows that many won’t sink to just for likes or views??
I propose a new challenge.
Let’s show each other how much we truly care for one another.
Can we start the “I Love You” challenge??
Share a bunch of love in the world and put THAT on social media for the world to see?
Let’s be less busy preaching and judging what the world should be like because we are so busy living it.
I, myself, have been guilty of this and will take this challenge very seriously. And if you see me veering off course, I give you permission to pull me up.
Because I know that it will come from a place of love, not judgment.
We have the ability to embark upon an exciting future.
The only way out is through and I am on this journey with you.
I love you,