Early this summer, I was out in the community. I came across a young Black male. He was about 19 years old and lived in one of the more challenging areas of the city. Our paths crossed at a time when he was being presented with a personal crisis at hand. As I spoke with him over a period of about 45 minutes, I could sense that he was very angry at everyone about everything and throughout 99% of our conversation he would not make eye contact.
So, I asked him who do you live with? “My grandmother”, he said.
He went on to say that he did not know his father and his mother had a drug problem when he was born and he was raised by the “State Social Services” via foster homes and now with his grandmother. I could hear the anger in his voice as he told me his brief story. He was frustrated with the situation his parents had created for him. A bleak destiny without his approval or impute.
What is your status with school or a job? “I did not finish school and I don’t have a job,” he said.
So, I asked him the big question. Now you’re 19 years old, what do you want to be when you grow up?
He looked into my eyes and said, “Alive!”
This is an account of a true event.


Shafiq R. Fulcher Abdussabur is an author, public speaker, racial profiling consultant, entrepreneur, and retired law enforcement Sergeant. His unique views and approach to urban violence prevention, racial profiling prevention and community based policing have been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NPR-Where We Live, New Haven Independent, NPR-All Things Considered, WYBC-Electric Drum, New Haven Advocate, Russian Radio, BBC, PBS, New York Daily News, New Haven Register, Hartford Courant, and Al Jazeera America. His repertoire continues to grow consistently. He has appeared as a guest host on WNPR's “Where We Live.” He is also a contributing writer for the Huffington Post.
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