I have been reading facebook posts promoting suicide prevention and talking about the need to look after one another. The need to offer support, empathy and resources. But there are so many places where vulnerable are most at risk.
Youths are at risk, people in mental hospitals are at even more risk and the most at risk of violence are in prison. I just read a story in the New Yorker about the story of a young man in the New York state prison system whose father was preparing to send of him a care package only to discover he had been buried 6 weeks earlier. The article by Jennifer Gonnerman, told how Lonnie Hamilton II learned that his son had died on March 18, 2016 when he went to the prison website. His son, Lonnie Hamilton III, had hung himself after becoming increasingly depressed in the Marcy Correctional Facility.
This is a story about an involved father who worked long hours to provide for his children only to lose one of them to crime and seeing his son torn away from the community. It is a story about failure to notify the next of kin about what was happening. There were signs especially self mutilation that should have set off a thousand alarm bells. I don’t think that the prison tried everything possible to assist Lonnie.
These kinds of tragedies happen all too often. I don’t think the prison was set up to meet the needs of a deeply troubled African American young man so he became a casualty. This is a cry for help, action and a replacement for the deconstruction. I would hate for this to happen to one of my nephews and hope people will use these stories
I am part of a group that has been attempting to launch a chapter of black non believers in Milwaukee. We had a couple of lunches last year at a coffee shop but mostly we exist on Facebook. Facebook is helpful because we are able to exchange ideas. The group has grown and we are up to 38 members. Some of us have posted about trying to organize a meeting for this month. Meanwhile we are able to post ideas and share information. Recently someone posted an article about 10 fierce atheists that was published on Huffington Post. I checked out one woman,Deanna Adams, who publishes a blog Musings on a limb about being a black mother, a professional and an atheist in Houston. She was an active member of the Houston Black Nonbelievers and is now a board member of the Houston Humanists.
Her blog is worth reading as I did tonight. I plan to check out some of the other people mentioned in the article. Most of my inspiration about secularism comes from the Freedom from Religion Foundation which has a wonderful essay contest for students of color. I posted a few articles from Freethought Today on our Black Nonbelievers page. My energy comes and goes so that is why I fall silent. I am very active on twitter which is where a lot of people read my thoughts.
One very interesting thing I checked out was regarding black lives matter. There was an article about the fact two of he founders of the movement are lesbians who intentionally include their vision and that was offensive to on man who became involved in promoting black straight pride. To me our gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters have always been there. We haven’t always acknowledged their presence. Straight black people are not under threat. People don’t conduct referendums on whether straight blacks have the right to marry and their presence in movements is not considered controversial. It is time to make the equal protection clause of our constitution a reality. No more sitting in the back of the bus.
When I check on the atheist groups on Facebook I regularly read stories of people being harassed by their families of devoutly religious people. Even though Facebook has settings that allow people to block individuals who might insult or post negative comments, somehow these believers seem to break through. These long suffering and I suspect somewhat dense atheists don’t understand you could even have a profile for one set of friends and a profile for a second set.
But the basic problem seems to be that they have chosen the wrong families, the so-called pious individuals who make their beliefs into a fetish. They think that everyone outside their narrow sect will spend eternity in some fiery pit watching old re-runs of the Kardashian family. Well fortunately I don’t come from one of those weirdly religious families. We used to say grace at the dinner table but after a while I stopped joining in. Although I explored different religious traditions I left my family’s beliefs long ago. And I have been perfectly happy for it. When I seek out romantic companionship, I find it is best to look for non-religious women.
When I return to visit my family, we are not filled with strife and aunts and uncles pushing religious tracts on me. We actually have little contact with the more deeply religious family members. We don’t bother one another on Facebook. And yes, we do love each other. I think more families would be better served by following our example of learning to respect one another and our differences. Issues of spirituality, immortality and god are too important to be beaten or brainwashed into people. Some of the atheists I encounter rebelled after being dragged along to church as children. I was allowed to find my own path. Thank Darwin we have developed the wisdom to develop and nurture our own beliefs. Blessed be.