Sunday, September 06, 2009

On the Death of Toua Xiong

Originally written as an email to my friends and family, the following was published in Insight News and picked up by other bloggers. I post it here now as I honor former North High students who have been murdered.

On the Death of Toua Xiong

August 8, 2006

I don't watch the news. I listen to MPR. I don't watch television news though, unless it's focused on global or national events. These local reports depress me.

So tonight, I am clicking the channel to find something as I wind down, and happen to hear the words "Arrest of a 20 year old in the murder of a North Minneapolis Pizza Delivery boy."

Next thing I know: a photo of Toua Xiong, the most sweet, innocent boy I may have ever taught at Minneapolis North Community High School, is being flashed up on the screen. He was the Pizza Hut delivery person killed on Sunday night.

And my god! This is the second former student of mine murdered --in what? A month? That I knew!! That is dead. Innocent young person. Marcus White. Now Toua Xiong.

And breathing is hard, you know.....?

This kid was so quiet. So sweet. Mid-height. Thin. So thin. So squeaky, squirmy, sitting next to this pack of Hmong boys in the back of my classroom with all their notebooks filled with car drawings; he was always drawing pictures and asking questions....Quiet questions. Needing to be near my elbow when he whispered them.

....When we were doing that Midsummer Night's Dream Unit, he played Mustardseed, or some such precious, few-lined character...And to ensure he got a good grade, submitted all of these drawings of the characters as he had envisioned them....

And then when I lead the Teen Group at St. Phillips - he delivered our pizza one random Monday night. I remember this whole awkward struggle I had leaving him a tip....(I didn't add right, and he returned to the church basement to have me recalculate the amount I'd written in...I was so embarrassed...)

And now he's dead.

I just ask for your thoughts. Prayers...We need peace. We need to be in relationship...

I suppose I need to ask some question...But I'm tired..And so angry.....And so sad...

So: please pose them out there....and have kind thoughts.....And hold this......It's not okay to have this happen.


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