Sunday, September 06, 2009

On the Murder of Marcus White

The following was originally composed as an email and sent to friends and family upon learning about the murder of former student, Marcus White. I post it here now, paying tribute to the four young men I taught at North High who have been killed in North Minneapolis.

Sunday, June 16, 2006

Friends, I am devastated. And writing as a way through prayer...request for prayer and community...

I have logged onto my email from my friend Suzann's home in Pleasant View, Utah. (After a morning of watching CNN, learning more of the sitaution in Lebanon and the war being waged there with Israel, the Hezbollah, Hamas, and calling for the world's response... That news, followed by the "Secret State"report depicting the assissinations of three people who worked to cross the border of North Korea in the name of freedom, democracy, education...)

And now this. The Peace Foundation e-lert informing me of the latest Vigil: for Marcus White, 19 year old young man who was shot and killed Friday.

Marcus White, former student of mine at North High, with this beautiful smile and desire to always have the "right answers" when it came to class work...I amseeing him ask about his mid-term, Spring Semester, when he had to memorize and perform a scene from Mid-Summer Night's Dream. He was either Lysander or Demetrius, one of the young lovers.....One of the
Young LOVERS!!?!

.....The last time I saw him, I was walking into the Visitation Sisters' house on Girard, and he shouted a "Hey Ms. Borgmann" from across the street, just kitty-corner from the North High football field...When was that?.....

And I have photos of him on my hard drive at home - wearing a Peace Games T-shirt and a funny crown on his head...We were in the Sculpture Garden at the Walker...there for the Peace Games...Teens Rock the Mic poets were performing.. and our friends from South Africa....

My God!

I'm in shock. Sad. Devastated.....

I didn't know if this was one and same "Marcus-White-my-student" - until I found this Star
Tribune Article, and looked up his age....

I just wrote Michelle and Sondra at the Peace Foundation to confirm this, but now I know this is

What's going on in our world? Where are we pointing our eyes, our hearts, our minds? What are we focusing on? How are we called into this? How do I sit here, north of Ogden, and do anything?

Sas, (my dear girlfriend from Sacred Heart and Norfolk Catholic, whose home with Brook, her husband, and son Ben - that I'm at now) ---She and I were up late last night, discussing so many of the issues present on the planet...(You know, those delicious deep,
philopophical, spiritual conversations I relish..) And we are asking ourselves what we are up to...

What are our gifts?
What does God, Creator, Love call us to do?
We are ear deep in stories, reflecting on the
tragedies and celebrations of our lives, and we both know how lucky we are privileged we are...and considering what that means...
What are we called to do or be?

You know me, I just want to love...get married and have some kids and love them the best I can....Do my part to be an agent of change, a radical force of Love on the planet, working to impact evolution, helping create a space of healing and my own home...

But wow...

I tried for years in my classroom at North to do these things.....through my work with these beautiful poets and emerging teaching artists...

And Sas, here, with her beautiful son Benjamin, who she and Brook conceived and carried through 9-11....

What am I saying? What am I writing? I don't know...But....there is a little blond boy downstairs who giggles and kisses and plays with trains and who came onto the earth (with perhaps the
miraculous help of St. Therese: "She's the one who held me when I was trying to be a baby" --said the almost 3-year old Ben, pointing at a statue of the saint, who his mom prayed to during the time they were working to conceive him.....)

IS this too much information? Too much processing? I don't know, but I must cling to these stories, this little boy's voice and smile and image (he's now saying: "Ms. Melissa, do want to see me crabwalk?" aha!)

And I hold this moment, this child - as that representing Love...of the greater goodness, the more powerful Life and Spirit orce that permeates our hearts...casts out the darkness and sorrow....

Hopefully...yes...Ben doesn't replace Marcus White. But he gives me hope....

As does the Peace Foundation. As does Prayer. As does knowing each and every one of you. As does this act of processing via email...

With love and blessings to each of you...
From Pleasant View, Utah,
Melissa B.


Minneapolis' latest victim of violence had worked on peace games
Terry Collins and David Chanen, Star Tribune

Around this time a year ago, Marcus White persuaded
PEACE Games organizers not to end a semifinal game on
a north Minneapolis basketball court after police
found a gun.

"I've worked hard to make this happen," White pleaded
during the anti-crime event. "Please let us finish
what we started. We need something positive."

On Thursday, the 19-year-old from Minneapolis was shot
and killed near a busy intersection in broad daylight,
becoming the city's 34th homicide victim this year.

Nobody had been arrested Friday. Police believe the
shooting was gang-related, and Capt. Rich Stanek said
that White had a "gang association."

But White's relatives who gathered at a vigil Friday
night! rejected that idea, and his cousin Steven
Smith said White had a college scholarship for the

A crowd of about 100 people converged at the corner of
W. Broadway and Dupont Avenue N., near the shooting
scene, singing gospel songs that reached into the
neighborhood over a loud speaker.

Another vigil is planned for 4 p.m. Sunday at the
site. As soon as Monday, Council Member Don Samuels
said, he intends to conduct his Fifth Ward business
from a tent in a parking lot on Broadway -- directly
across from where White was shot in the busy business
district that city leaders have vowed to revitalize.

Police were already working to address the crime
problem in the area with plans to open a safety center
there next week. Staff will include a Minneapolis
police crime prevention specialist and a West Broadway
Business Association representative, said mayoral
spokesman Jeremy Hanson.

"This will be a hub for the Police Department," he
said. "Once! it opens, the city will work with
community and neighborhood ! groups to figure how the
center can best fulfill everybody's needs."

Interim Police Chief Tim Dolan said Friday that
although there are beat officers assigned to the area,
additional officers will be on patrol in the wake of
the homicide.

He joined family and friends of White who gathered
earlier Friday around a makeshift memorial at W.
Broadway and Dupont.

Dolan also said there were gang members who were
"making a show" at the scene Friday.

The scene was a far cry from the one where White
worked a year ago as a youth worker for the inaugural
youth-oriented PEACE Games.

"He said, 'All we want to do is show you that we can
do this without anybody getting shot. Please,' " said
former coordinator Jimmy Stanback, who hired White.

Stanback said he'd known White since he was a kid and
last spoke to him Wednesday on W. Broadway. White
asked him about this year's PEACE Games, which begin
July 28.

"All I'm thinking about now i! s how he was trying to
prevent violence," Stanback said. "And now he's a
victim to violence."

An argument apparently led to Thursday's shooting,
Stanek said.

Moments before, White and two other people were in a
car. White and the woman were shot outside the car, he
said. Her injuries aren't life threatening.

The shooter fled on foot, Stanek said, adding that
police received several tips from those at the scene
who are "sick and tired" of the violence. In March,
Stanek stood over the body of Melvin Paul, 28, who
also was killed in broad daylight in his car about 20
feet from where White lay.

"We still need the community to come forward with
information to keep this a safe place and curtail the
violence," Stanek said.

The Rev. Jerry McAfee organized Friday night's vigil
and called on the community to trust in God and be
more spiritually focused as the way to prevent further

White's mother showed up briefly and! came forward
when McAfee identified her, but then she passed ! out.
A relative took her away in a car.

The minister called on the community to stand behind
White's family.

"If you're not going to be with this family for the
long haul, I'd rather you leave now," he said. People

Staff writer Myron P. Medcalf contributed to this
report. • 612-673-1790 • 612-673-4465

No comments: