Her last tweet…”I’m tired.” Yes, I’m tired too, baby girl. Tired of the senseless shooting of innocent children. Tired of hearing yet another gun claimed the life of another brother or sister. And I’m long past the point of taking this anymore.

For those that have not yet heard about the shooting & killing of 15 year old, Hadiya Pendleton, this has created a major outcry over the last 2 days in the Chicago.

Though I’ve known many youth at King High School and other CPS institutions, I did not personally know Hadiya. But I cried yet again in hearing another bright & beautiful child was shot & killed. Though I have no children of my own and work with numerous youth, I have a deep sense of feeling connected to my community, to our children, as if they are each my own.

Even as I write this, my eyes swell with tears, because of the hurt I feel knowing our children are dying, my children are dying in the streets. If we all look at all of our children this way, then our hearts would be breaking right now and we’d be at a point where we can no longer tolerate this. We ALL have an obligation to protect, nurture and love our children.

It’s very shortsighted to say, “Well, I’m just focusing on mine” or “they aren’t MY kids”. Whether we realize it or not, we are interconnected. Like Hadiya, even if you didn’t know her, she probably went to school with someone you know, or a school you used to attend, or is related to someone you know, or was part of an organization or an event that either you or someone you know attended. Even the president can admit that. My point is for us to realize that she’s family, we are family.

With that said, do these words, still ring true?

“I am my brothers/sisters keeper.”

Yes, I am.

And if that still holds true for you too, then we can no longer afford to let the violence we see continue, escalate and keep claiming our brothers and sisters. We need to actively engage in “keeping” one another.

Do I have all the answers? No.

But in each of us, is a portion of the solution. In something laid on your heart to do, in some gift instilled in your abilities, talents, and skills. Be it knowledge, a responsibility, and urging you feel, in some way, each of us has something to contribute to the solution. Hadiya did her part to speak and act in addressing the violence in our community. (Hadiya in PSA on gang violence: below) We owe it to her memory and the lives of our children to do ours.

Hadiya’s life was a gift. And perhaps even in her death, we have ALL been given an opportunity to wake up like never before and start changing the face of our community. How many more Hadiya’s do we need to see for us to be tired of hearing these incidents claim our youth and be determined enough to engage in “keeping” our children…ALL of our children. I pray not one more.

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