Estimated reading time: 8 minute(s)
Originally published 6.13.10
Above Photo: Vashion “B.J.” Bullock participates in a morning
drill at Muhammad University of Islam on April 8, 2010
This was truly inspiring to read.
I came across this recent article on the website of the Chicago Tribune related to the brutal death of 16-year-old Derrion Albert last September. That video was so personally hurtful to me I refused to post it on my blog when the story first broke. I can still see that young Black honor roll student being smashed in the head with that 2×4 board.
When I saw this article about Vashion “B.J.” Bullock and Montrell Truitt, it brought a smile to my face to see two young men involved in that incident turning a negative into a positive. Bullock received even more backlash.
According to the article:
Bullock said he rushed into the fight, in Roseland near the school, after being pummeled in the face with a brick.
When a digital recording of the melee emerged, it showed Bullock shirtless in the middle of a frenetic mob. It showed him picking up a wooden plank and standing over Albert, who was already on the ground losing consciousness after being punched and whacked. But instead of striking Albert with the plank, he walked away.
His brother, Eugene Riley, was charged with murder for allegedly striking Albert with a two-by-four.
Bullock faced repercussions, too. He was expelled from Chicago Public Schools for two years. Although he was assigned to an alternative school, the option felt like a dead end and he chose not to enroll.
Due to the help of LaTonja Styles Muhammad, who founded the non-profit Political Swagger, Bullock was accepted into Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago. According to MUI’s website, the school was originally established in 1934 by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Detroit, MI to “reverse the poison inherent in the educational system.”
The Tribune further reports:
MUI was built around the idea that everyone is redeemable. .
“Discipline starts with expectation,” said MUI Principal Larry Muhammad. “You’d be surprised how fast young people can adjust in the right environment.”
….Bullock said the day he got accepted to MUI, not the fight, was the defining moment of his year.
Bullock will graduate next month and plans to major in engineering! As for Truitt, who was struck by a wooden plank during that Sept. brawl, he decided to stay at Fenger High School despite its bad rap. He is now graduating in the top of his class and has acceptances from three colleges.
Go head young men! Congratulations!
And continued prayers for the family of Derrion Albert and all families who have lost loved ones to senseless violence. We yet have more work to do with the knowledge we all have.
Montrell Truitt poses for family and neighbors
before leaving for his prom date on June 4, 2010
(Both photos by Abel Uribe)