Our hearts go out to the family of Brandon Webber, the Frayser community, and all involved in another traumatic event for our city.
Regardless of the details leading up to his death, we must admit that a deep tragedy occurred in the Frayser community.
Media coverage has centered on the reactions of the community and police. While headlines note the number of police injuries or the actions of the crowd, they ignore the tragic truth at the heart of these events: another young man in our city was killed.
The Frayser community is in pain. We can only imagine the anger, sadness, and grief felt by the family members, friends, and community members who knew Brandon.
Brandon’s death and the pain of the Frayser community remind us at Stand for Children Tennessee why we do the work we do.
Every day across our city, nearly one in three black youths are disconnected from work or school, and even those who are connected lack adequate protection and support, resulting in many who continue to struggle, whether academically, socially, or economically. We know that when we fail to invest meaningfully in our youth, we leave them much more vulnerable to violence. We must make new choices to recognize all of our youth as inherent assets to our city and take meaningful steps to nurture their growth and defend their development. Past policy choices have created a cycle of pain and mourning that has left deep wounds in communities all through our city.
As a city, we must recognize the deep trauma endured in our communities every day. Shelby County Schools recently took initial steps towards becoming a trauma-responsive district; this is an example that we must expand upon and, as a city, move to make all systems–education, public safety, healthcare, and others–more aware of and responsive to trauma. We need to strengthen our individual and collective capacity to mourn with people in Frayser and listen to the community for what it needs now.
If we do not listen deeply to the people in our communities and empower them to heal, we will continue to see events like this one happen throughout our city.
Stand for Children uses grassroots organizing as a way to listen to communities and hear directly from them about what they need to ensure that all youth are empowered to succeed educationally and economically. Our city must learn to do the same. We know we can and must do better in empowering our youth through community investments in jobs, education, healthcare, transportation, and more.
We will continue to stand for our youth in Frayser and in every part of our city through advocacy, our organizing efforts, and community support. We STAND with the Frayser community during their time of mourning.