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Letter to the Editor: Young Lives Matter

05/02/2016 9:00 AM |

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An influx of Riverhead natives will be returning in June to take part in witnessing another graduating class take that pivotal step across the stage. It is the first step of their journey into the future.

They will say goodbye to those special educators, mentors and parents who helped shaped their lives and who continue to believe in their potentials.

This year’s graduation comes in the shadow of the loss of one of Riverhead High School’s icons, Antonio DeGrasse.

Those who were students during his tenure remember the former administrator as a disciplinarian who had a strong passion for shaping and molding students to become successful and productive because to him, Young Lives Matter. In these times of ours, unfortunately, we have become more divided than ever.

Civil rights accomplishments of the past have taken a back seat to divisive movements with selfish ulterior motives. It’s time for us all to stop in place and take an assessment of ourselves and ask what are we are doing to assist the educators and mentors that these graduates leave behind. Come fall, a new class will take their place and we must ready them for their anticipated journey. The question is: What are we putting in place for them to look forward to?

This year’s presidential race has sewn into our fabric borders that divide us along racial, ethnic and gender lines. Is this what matters to us, sewing divides masqueraded under the cloth of justice and equality? As African-Americans do we just scream out only when a black life is taken by a police officer, yet there’s an air of silence when we take the life of one of our own? What’s sad is that we are sending our young into a world where life only matters when tragedy occurs and we are able to lay blame on something or someone else. We must begin by creating an atmosphere where Young Lives Matter. With the destruction of our young there are no Black Lives Matter, White Lives Matter, Hispanic Lives Matter … No lives will matter if we don’t start with our children, our youth and our recent graduates.

Our lives will only be relevant when Young Lives Matter.

– The author is a former Riverhead resident who now lives in Virginia

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