I got word today that a brother I knew indirectly (he was a member of one of the black fraternities at Michigan, and I knew some of the people he pledged with) killed himself and his wife in a murder-suicide. He left behind three children (who were in the home locked in another room when it happened). Earlier in the year I found out that a brother I was in the Cub Scouts with killed himself and his long-standing girlfriend.
Trying to wrap my head around this I dug up a paper. I knew that blacks committed suicide at far lesser rates than their white counterparts–a sign for me that blacks have far more resiliency because of our history. But the rate of change for blacks is increasing significantly, particularly among black male youth.
The primary reason I am where I am in life is because of group cooperation, group initiative, and group loyalty. My parents, family friends, people at Michigan, my fraternity brothers all looked out for me at one point or another. And now my wife and children help keep me rooted. We’ve got to do a better job of reaching out, of building sustainable relationships that have meaning. We can’t be safe, we can’t be healthy, we can’t be sane, we cannot organize without them.