What’s Happening Wednesday: An Open Letter to My People

Dear Friends and Family,

I pray that this note finds you well.  I have something very serious I need to talk to you about.  I’m not even sure how to broach this subject, but I’m giving you my best shot.

First let me say, I planned on reading R. Kelly for the filth that he is.  But then one of my Facebook friends posted this (Forgive the grammar.)

“How many chicks you know was getting picked up from high school from 20 & 30 year olds.  Our community is full of R. Kellys.”

Ouch! This felt like a punch to my soul.  Why?  Because I was one of those girls.  And while I wasn’t a victim, (Thank God!)I honestly can’t say the same for all of my friends.  I owe them an apology for not dragging them out of those cars.

But this isn’t about me.  This is about us, as a community, failing our girls.  We all know who the perpetrators are.  They hang around the skating rink, and the Friday night football games long after they graduated.  They are acquaintances and in some cases,  they are relatives. I hesitate to call them friends, because friends do not let friends be involved in destructive behavior.

We make up colloquialisms.  We say stupid stuff, like so-and-so has a “funny uncle”, or —- likes ’em young.  We should call it what it is ….pedophilia.  And we should stop it in its tracks.

R. has been up to his foolishness for 20+ years.  I remember when he showed up to my middle school to “play basketball”, with his friend, the school janitor.  I wonder if he was scouting for young girls then.

For 20+ years, he’s had a crew around him who have made excuses for him, aided him in his criminal activity, and covered his tracks.  From the guy who drives the SUVs, to the lawyer who negotiates the confidentiality agreements and the settlements, they are as guilty as he is.

As a community, we have to do better.  I was blessed with a mother and other adults who made it their business to protect me.  Every one of our girls deserves that.

If you see “Creepy Carl” hanging around band practice, let him know you’ve got your eye on him.  Let the girls know you’re watching, too.  Teens sometimes alter their behavior when they know they are being watched.

If the offender is in your circle, let him know, that:

1) You do not approve.


2) You will not tolerate such foolishness.

Let us purge our community of this plague.

I’m pleading with you for the little girl who is trapped in the closet of her teenage mind, thinking that she’s grown because a grown man finds her attractive.  I’m begging you, for the sake of a little colored girl who lives at the end of the block.  I’m asking for the sake of the little colored girls who sleep under my roof.

They all, WE ALL, deserve better!

Mama Radford


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