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#BlackLivesMatter: When Family Becomes a Hashtag


It was a Sunday and I was wrapping up my final Spring Break as an undergrad in 2012. I had opted for a weekend in Chicago with some cousins and was not ready to head back to school. I remember feeling my phone vibrate at what had to be around 4 in the morning. I decided to keep the phone under my pillow until I was fully awake to be able to comprehend whatever text was sent to me. I woke up around 9 and read a text from my baby brother that said, “I love you.” I immediately knew something was wrong.  I mean he is my brother so of course we love each other. We have just never been the type of siblings to randomly tell each other that. I was right. Something was wrong. After reading, “I got shot,” I called him immediately. This wasn’t a texting type of conversation….



He answered and told me the story.

He was at a party,

He witnessed a fight,

He felt a bullet graze him (or thought grazed him),

He felt the hole where the bullet went in and blood run down his fingers,

He walked back into the party,

Then he passed out.

I’m so thankful for his friend Jordan, who found Jamaal slumped over inside the party and carried him back outside because the cowardly shooters found their way back inside the party and decided to continue shooting.

I spoke with Jordan as well and he stated how he disbursed after the gunshots were heard and good thing he turned around to see where Jamaal was because anybody probably would have left him there. I repeatedly told Jordan THANK YOU for looking out for Jamaal. Like REPEATEDLY.

The bullet is still lodged in his chest but because of his frame and how much he works out, the bullet is cushioned enough to not move. (At least that’s what the doctor said). The bullet landed directly under his heart that any slight move up, down, left, or right, his life could’ve been over.

But his recovery proved how real my God is.

My brother was shot on a Sunday,

Bullet moved from by his heart to the diaphragm that Tuesday (the doctor decided to keep it in him because cutting his chest open was way too risky),

Released that Wednesday,

Flew back to St. Louis that Thursday,

Spent Easter with family and friends that weekend,

Back to Arkansas that following Wednesday. All in a week and a half span.


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How is Jamaal doing today?

He’s currently in the process of transferring schools to complete his last year of college with hopes of going pro (or rapping); I really don’t care as long as he finishes. I’m just glad he is here.



To this day, all we know about the shooter is that he was another young black man and Jamaal was not a specific target. Another person was shot that night as well. A girl was shot in her hand. We never even tried to find out who did it….

But I can’t help but to think if my brother succumbed to his wounds of being shot by another black man, how much noise would I have made? Would I have become an activist for anti-black on black crime? Would I have tried to seek out the shooter? What would I be doing now?

Step further….

If my brother was shot and killed by a white police officer, where would I be now? How angry would I be? Would I have caused hell for this city and demanded some type of justice on behalf of my brother?

Why is it different?

According to Forbes Top 10 list of the most dangerous cities, we are ranked at #2. That’s not something to be proud of. That’s not okay. That doesn’t even include police involved killings. That is just us knocking off each other.

But if I could get REAL real for a second. I’m all for #BlackLivesMatter because that is the issue at hand. Being in St. Louis all my life, I am a first-hand witness in seeing how segregated and how racist this city truly is: Racial profiling, gentrification, education system, over 90 municipalities in STL County (dumbest thing ever). The list of institutionalized and systemic racism goes on and on…and on. I get it. It’s a problem. One of the things I am most passionate about and why I decided to go back to school. I am a Christian so it is my job to see value in every human life. Black, white, green, florescent beige, it doesn’t matter. But because I do identify as a Black Woman, certain issues will affect me a little bit more than others.

But you know what else is a problem??????

Our entitled mindset in thinking it’s okay to take a life of our own kind. Of any kind for that matter.

180 homicides this year as of December 9 which is 71 up from this time last year. And these are just the ones that are tracked and do NOT include police involved killings…

That’s a problem.

Both are. As much as my blood boils to hear about someone in law enforcement deciding to end a life of another one of my beautiful Black Kings, I should be just as pissed when a Black King decides to kill another Black King. Or when a white man decides to shoot up a movie theater. Or when members of ISIS decide to murder Christians. Or when someone with no value for life at all decides to irrationally kill a Muslim due to their own self-hatred.

We all should be.

If God showed me my demise and getting shot just happens to be the way I go out, I would much rather be shot and killed by a police officer than one of my own people. At least I know with complete certainty that my people would shut this city down and wreak havoc demanding answers and seeking justice for my death.

Unfortunately and with all honesty, I do not have that same level of confidence that the same would happen if one of my own decided to end my life.

I pray that’s not the way I go out. But I digress

Pray for our city. Pray for our young black men and women. Pray for our youth. Pray for our law enforcement. Pray for the church. Just pray.

It is really getting out of hand and I don’t care how much you try to avoid the news, social media, etc.…it’s not going anywhere.

What are WE going to do about it?

God Bless,

Alana Marie

2 black kings I love the most, my brothers.

2 black kings I love the most, my brothers.


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