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Here at Global Grind we honor the lives of those youths that are killed by street violence on a consistent basis. The fact that we can have anywhere from a few a week to tens a month is frightening. Yet when I read them, I have to admit I’ve become numb to the pain and experience more of an anger toward the deaths. The type of anger that comes is  a fleeting flash and then a disdain for those that committed the act. Life tends to roll on after a moment once I say a prayer for them and their family. This time though the moment has a permanent place, because the prayer is for my family and me.

My cousin Christopher Golden was shot and killed in the Lafayette Garden projects in Brooklyn, New York yesterday. With various half reported accounts on the details of the incident I’m not fully informed with the actions that took his life. All I know is that he was approached and shot in the chest. The streets are saying he was shot multiple times and the newspaper is saying once. Be it once or 15 times, it’s not the number of shots that shock me, it’s the malice behind the shots that hurts like hell. For someone to want to pump projectiles into another person is heinous in nature. The fact that Chris could cause that much hatred in someone else is beyond me.

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To my family, and me he was a shining light of smiles and jokes. Chris was a handsome young man, son, brother and most importantly…father. Whenever we would get together at family functions we would discuss his future plans and what he wanted out of life. He would mention how the streets lure is a lot to deal with but how it wasn’t going to be long before he was out of it’s cold grasp. We would then fall into reminisce mode and talk about how much he loved doing a photo shoot for his favorite magazine, Slam, all those years ago. I was working at Slam’s brother publication, XXL at the time and Slam needed a young basketball player to shoot for a Foot Locker campaign and I suggested Chris. He was super happy to take flicks against an incredibly dope graffiti wall and always smiled when he spoke about it. I was happy to have helped him see that he could shine and get props from something like that and not just from the street accolades that so many young black men from the hood strive for.

Chris stumbled along the way with hardships that befall most youths that are closely connected to their inner-city areas. I tend to lean towards having a soft heart for the cold hearted that live in this cycle of negativity and dread. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived with them and come from that as well. I hear the dreams and hopes and aspirations that they all have….yet, as much as they dream and visualize their futures, they can’t see beyond the littered streets that trap their moment to moment thoughts.

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I’m extremely hurt. Even with today being my 35th birthday, I’m blessed to live the life I’ve been experiencing. Yet, the pain of losing a loved one to violence is something that can be avoided. It’s a mindset that can be corrected if all of us that have knowledge of our potential and greatness that  we can pass those virtues on to those that have trouble seeing the same for themselves.

Since I’ve been in this game I’ve been determined on helping those that I see have the tools to make their d