Recently, I spoke to the entire male student population at Miami Northwestern. I recounted my days as a student there and growing up only blocks away. Five days later, 15-year-old Johnny Lubin was shot to death in broad daylight. He was shot on 77th Street. I grew up on 74th. Johnny was the fifth student from the school killed since May.
I also recounted the different paths that many of my friends and schoolmates took — some that led to success and self sufficiency while others led to prison, poverty or early death.
My heart is heavy knowing that Johnny was in the assembly at the time. That he heard my voice and words, and placed some stock in them that his future was bright with opportunities. Did his eyes meet mine that day?
Yet, my greatest fear is that some who sat and listened among the crowd of nearly 700 students know what happened, know who did it, or even worse, are the perpetrators of this act.
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What is happening now in the urban core with the recent killings of five students from the same school is unprecedented. I know — I served as principal of this school for seven years and served 25 years as an educator there.
These acts debunk the notion that such violence only occurs in public housing, in the thick of poverty and under the veil of darkness.
Senseless youth violence and homicide have made their way to Miami — just a stone’s throw away from the glitz of the Design District and the allure of South Beach. When will our “state of emergency” arrive? This new breed of cowardly savages lives and kills with impunity.
And while I pray for France, I also pray for the families, students and members of my community who are affected by this violence and forced to live among these terrorists.
I also pray that we as a community have not accepted the violent, snatching of lives as the “new normal.”
Steve Gallon III, Miami