By Sharon Holmes
Two young men decided to throw a party. This was no ordinary party; this was a party organized by friends of 14-year-old Endia Martin who refuse to let her life be just another sad statistic of the gun violence that is permeating Chicago.
They decided to come together through an “EndiaWorld FeFe” – basically a remembering party.
While African-American males are derided for being quick to respond to violence with violence, these young men specifically stated, “Just come out and show respect again for Endia. Turn up the right way.”
They decided to honor and mourn their friend peacefully and asked everyone else to respect that.
The site of the party was a park with a basketball court and a huge open field. Although it was supposed to start at 7, very few people were there, but there was a heavy police presence.
Boys on the court played ball and ignored the police who slowly rode by every 10 minutes or so. Even when the police drove their patrol cars on the field and illuminated the court, the boys played on without looking their way.
The boys who were not playing flirted awkwardly with the girls who lined the court waiting for the party to start.
As the clock pushed toward 8 p.m., more people started arriving, most of them teenagers; a lot of them had on T-shirts or sweaters emblazoned with Endia’s pictures.
Because purple was Endia’s favorite color, it was featured prominently on many of the shirts that declared “EndiaWorld,” “EndiaGang” or “Long Live Tiny” (Tiny was one of Endia’s nicknames).
Even as more people arrived, the mood of the crowd never changed. These kids just wanted to have a peaceful night and remember their friend.
There were no fights; there were no arguments; there was no disrespect. There was an overwhelming sense that everyone was on their best behavior because not to be would be a direct insult to Endia’s memory.
Something amazing happened on the South Side of Chicago last Saturday. Two young men proved that 100 black kids can come together with no adult supervision and not a single bullet ring out or a single punch be thrown.
Two young men proved that violence does not have to be answered with violence. Two young men proved that Chicago is not “Chiraq.”