(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 12 February 2019—Black History Month)
Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God.
On January 28, 2000, Cornel Young Jr. was shot and killed on the corner of Atwells Avenue and Valley Street in the city of Providence, Rhode Island.
At the age of 29, the life of a young black police officer of three years came to a tragic end. Cornel Young Jr, a graduate of Classical High School was the son of the Providence Police Department’s highest ranking African-American officer, Major Cornel Young Sr.
At the time of the incident, Cornel Young Jr. was off duty eating at a late night diner called Fidas when a dispute between two customers escalated to an extent that resulted in police being called to the restaurant. When two uniformed police officers arrived, one of the patrons involved in the dispute pulled out a firearm. Officer Young, dressed in plain clothes, saw the fire arm pulled and, as a result, he pulled his service weapon, which all off duty officers were required to carry at the time.
The uniformed police officers began to shout, “Drop your weapon, drop your weapon.” Officer Young assumed they were shouting at the customer who was part of the disturbance, as he approached the officers. Instead the officers fired on their fellow officer Cornel Young, who they claim they did not recognize as the incident unfolded.
Cornel Young was shot six times and was pronounced dead hours after arriving at a local hospital.
Today the Young & Woods Providence Public elementary school bears the name of Sergeant Cornel Young Jr. and serves as a daily reminder of the complicated history of black males falling victim to lethal force, perhaps none more complicated than a black male police officer falling victim to a police shooting.
Let us pray for peaceful communities.
Let us pray for our law enforcement who risk their lives to protect us all and are daily forced to deal with the consequences of a long legacy of globalized racism.
Let us pray for reconciliation and healing for the institutional racial discrimination that continues to influence and shape our society.
Let us pray for all victims of gun violence, especially young black males who are disproportionately victims of the gun violence found in the United States.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for Us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts… Forever
Mark Carty–Social Studies Teacher