I was on a blog (www.icedotcom.blogspot.com) the other day and I saw something that caused me to pause. It was the date August 23, 1989. Even though it is 19 years later I can still remember what I did that day. It was August and I had a job that summer working as a messenger for Grace Messenger services. We delivered the payroll for businesses that were affiliated with Chemical Bank and they worked out of 55 Water Street. After work that day my homeboy and I went back to the hood and we chilled for a couple of hours and until he went to go see his girl and I went upstairs to see my moms and to eat. It was a hot ass August evening and we didn’t have Air Conditioning yet so I fell asleep on the couch. I woke up the next day like I normally do and was happy because it was going to be payday. I had planned to go to the movies that night. While riding the train I saw something I will never forget and which changed my life forever. It was the cover of the Daily News and it showed a senseless crime a murder that shooked the foundation of my city. A 16 year old African –America youth was shot to death by a mob of over 30 white males in Bensonhurt, Brooklyn. Yusef Hawkins and two of his friends went into the predominantly Italian neighborhood to answer an ad about a car. This senseless killing still hurts me to my heart because I can remember going with my cousin to his basketball games in Bensonhurt and he would be afraid to stay after dark because he wanted to get out of the neighborhood before the white guys come around. I was too young and stupid to understand what he meant then but less than 6 years later the murder of Yusef Hawkins made me understand what he meant at the time.
I am mad at myself because I forgot the anniversary of a significant time period for me. 1989 was the year I changed as a person and started to develop the foundation for the man I have become. So by the time this blog goes up I will have a private memorial for Yusef Hawkins. I’m going to walk by his mural on Verona Avenue and Fulton Street say a little prayer, go home and drink some henny and cry myself to sleep. Because now 19 years later the change that we prayed would come from his death is now possible with Barack Obama in position to win the Presidential Election. However no matter the results of the election I will never ever forget Yusef Hawkins and the manner in which he was taken from his family. Rest in Peace God