6/27/07 "Juneteenth, I Wonder"
As I looked at our exclusive video of the assault on an innocent victim during over the past week or so, I have wondered a lot about who they are. I have also wondered why? And as I look at the sad picture of young people out of control...I think of the many young people I have interviewed for Positively Milwaukee who were so in control.
I wonder, would those young men have been so cruel had they had a loving grandfather like Rocky Rochester. He's the grandfather of 10 year old Johntrell Dixon. Johntrell is a talented young African American student I interviewed for "Positively Milwaukee." March of last year. His grandfather "Rocky" was filled with energy, light, and love when he talked about his grandson.
Rocky called me one day beaming with pride. He wanted to let me know he was proud Johntrell. He was delighted that Johntrell had written a science fiction book at the age of 8. Rocky, who writes poetry himself had turned his grandson on to the joy of writing and reading. Rocky took great delight in helping Johntrell with his homework. He told me how he spent a lot of time with Johntrell after school. During those precious moments, it was clear that Rocky inspires, guides, mentors...and gives love. Rocky is a role model, a nurturer, a good man. He's aware of the evils in society, and is working hard to motivate and protect his grandson.
All week while watching the horrific scenes of our exclusive video I thought about Rocky and his grandson Johntrell. I wondered..if those young men had a "Rocky" in their lives would they have been somewhere else. Would they be using their time constructively?
I decided to check up on rocky today. I wanted to know how Johntrell was doing. Well, Rocky answers the phone with the same excitement and pride. He is still proud. Johntrell, s now 10 years old. Yes, he's still getting good grades. Yes, Rocky is still helping Johntrell. This week Johntrell is away at camp on a school project. Keeping busy, staying productive using his energy in a positive way.
When I finish talking to Rocky, I cannot help but feel sad. If only every young man had a "Rocky" in their lives.