Black News

Family Says Teen Was Killed for Refusing to Join a Gang


by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Darryl Green was killed in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, a place where death and violence are all too common.  The 16-year old boy was not murdered in the middle of a crime or drug deal, but was instead killed because he refused to join a gang.

His aunt, Juanita Bonner, expressed her shock and disappointment that he would be killed, because he didn’t fit “the profile” of someone expected to not make it to his 18th birthday.

“He never goes anywhere. It’s just so shocking for this to happen to anyone,” she said.

Darryl’s body was found behind a boarded up house in the area.  The killer is still on the loose, as are most of the killers on the south side of Chicago.

“It’s somebody’s child. . .you know, just laying down on that ground, dead. You know, just another life gone,” said Eola States, Englewood resident.

The family says that police told them that their son was beaten to death.   But no details are confirmed by the police.

Darryl had stopped going to school and family members think that he was beaten because he refused to join a gang.

The nation shed millions of tears for the late Trayvon Martin, a tragedy that cuts to the core of our souls.  The idea that a young black man can be killed by a deranged rent-a-cop for not “staying in his place” is a sickening display of just how racist our justice system can be.

But one point I reiterated when speaking with Rev. Jesse Jackson the morning after the Zimmerman verdict was that there are hundreds of Trayvon Martins in every single city.  Each of their lives are precious, and these young men don’t deserve to die.  Unfortunately, many of them are born into a warzone created by the War on Drugs many years ago.  This creates a concrete jungle where it’s either kill or be killed.  But for these men, the George Zimmerman “Stand Your Ground” rules don’t apply:  Quite a few men were given long prison sentences for killing gun-toting assailants who shot at them first.

The point is that, in many situations, even the predator started off by decided that he would no longer be the prey.  So, even perpetrators are victims, and the bullying in a place like Englewood takes on a great deal more seriousness than any of us could ever imagine.   Darryl was being bullied, people failed to protect him, and now he’s six feet in the ground.

When my best friend was shot in the head many years ago, I remember that the public made the same assumptions about him that they did for Trayvon Martin:  He was probably a thug, maybe a drug dealer and did something to deserve to die.  Little did they know that we were best friends for a reason;  Neither of us got into any trouble and were seeking to be good people.

But for black men, people rarely assume that we are good people, worthy of a long and prosperous existence.  In fact, some don’t even think we’re human.  Trayvon was transformed by racist media from a normal 17-year old child into some kind of Hulk-like gangster with a death wish, which was blatantly disrespectful to his family, his person and his community.

Black boys are hit with injustice everywhere they turn.  If they are not victims of violent crime, they are the first ones sent to prison, more likely to be searched, and receiving longer prison sentences than everyone else.  These young men are the future husbands and fathers of the black community, so our collective genocide can be linked to the demise of the black male in America.   This is something we cannot tolerate.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the lecture series, “The 8 Principles of Black Male Empowerment.”  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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