“I know you don’t think I would just let him sign for 55 years…Yeah, ok, trash!”
These were the fiery and disrespectful words spewed at Dazie Williams by Devorah Perry, the mother of a young man who was recently found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the senseless killing of 22-year-old Joshua Dorrell Woods for his Nike Air Jordan XI ‘Bred’ sneakers that retail for about $185, back on Dec. 21, 2012. Her son was originally offered the opportunity by prosecutors to accept a plea deal for 55 years in prison and earlier parole eligibility.
Because they rejected the plea deal, it went to trial and Deron Taylor, who didn’t even flinch when the verdict was read, was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was only 16 years of age at the time of the murder so he will be eligible for parole in 40 years.
Taylor was the second of four individuals who have gone to trial, and been convicted for the murder of Woods. Back in February, 22-year-old Neal Bland was found guilty of capital murder and then received the automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
This is the second time that Woods’ mother, Dazie Williams, has had to deal with the emotions of not only dealing with the loss of her son, but the disrespect and lack of sympathy that came from the individuals and families of those charged and now convicted with her son’s murder.
Back in February, Williams said:
“As I sat in that courtroom, it was if Neal Bland was being viewed as the victim by his family and Joshua wasn’t even thought about by them. He (Bland) wouldn’t even look at me for 5 seconds when I gave my statement. The whole trial, he had been looking at us laughing and smirking, and when the judge asked him to say something I was hoping that he would say something and show that he had at least an ounce of remorse, but he said nothing.”
Prior to the guilty verdict and sentencing of Taylor, Devorah Perry talked to Williams as if she was the criminal and as if her son was not responsible for the decision he made to rob Woods.
Since 2012, Williams has struggled to cope with the loss of her son, but has maintained a consistent focus to not harbor bitterness against the individuals who contributed to her son’s murder. She did not push for the death penalty, although she was well within her rights and others wanted to pursue the death penalty. She has gone out of her way to show kindness and has even kept track of each of the four young men’s birthdays, in order to remember them. She has expressed a tremendous resolve and the ability to forgive others in the midst of the circumstances; something that has not been afforded to this strong, yet grieving mother.
As Williams took the witness stand during Taylor’s trial, she told him that she forgives him and wants to visit him. She told Taylor, “My son Joshua’s gone and I can’t hold anger and bitter in my heart because that’s not gonna bring my son back. I asked your mother when she comes to see you, I asked her could I go with her, and I’m asking you.”
The love of a mother is indescribable, but there is also something to be said about allowing your love to blind you from the truth and responsibility.
As you look at the state of Black America today, however, you have to ask yourself what in the world happened to us. Many Black people, born during and after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, abandoned the struggle and allowed desegregation to lull them to sleep by ignoring the closeness of community that the struggle created. Many of those who knew nothing about the Civil Rights struggles of their own people didn’t take an interest in learning about the struggle and teaching their children about it. That same level of disconnect has occurred relative to the way many children are being raised in today’s society.
Blacks used to have a focus on the village raising their child, but after desegregation, many of them moved away from that village to raise their families independently and without guidance.
Today, many Black parents shirk responsibility for their children and leave them to fend for themselves and figure things out by themselves. This typically leads to a negative result. Many of them allow their child to drop out of school and leave it up to politicians and school officials to determine what’s best for their child.
Many parents aren’t even concerned about their children’s education or whereabouts.
Take Devorah Perry for example. Listen to what she said when asked about her feelings about what her son was going through.
“It’s just too much for me I never thought he would be experiencing it,” said Perry. “He does have people who love him, even if he was out there doing things we didn’t know about.”
It is so unfortunate that, as a mother, Devorah Perry did not know where her son was or what he was doing. It is unfortunate that, as a mother, Devorah Perry has to endure the fact that her son was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. It is unfortunate that, as a mother, Devorah Perry has a son who was sitting in the backseat and had a gun that he used to fire off five shots at Woods. It is also unfortunate, however, that Joshua Woods is dead because of Devorah Perry’s son’s involvement and that Dazie Williams has to bear the burden of living the rest of her life with a murdered son – not a locked up one.
Think about that for a minute. There was never any mention about Joshua Woods or sympathy expressed towards his family. The only thing this mother cared about was protecting her baby who was a part of committing a wrong that led to someone else’s loss of life. Devorah Taylor treated her son like the victim and Joshua Woods and his family like the criminals.
Somebody along the way has failed many of these parents who are now failing their children.
Somebody has to take responsibility for the actions of our children and it starts with the parents.
It is time we stop making excuses about the lack of male role models and fathers in the home, and start taking responsibility for the children we have been blessed to produce and raise.
The next time you hear people complaining about how these young Black people don’t respect their elders or complaining about how these young Black kids aren’t doing anything with their lives, remember some of us in the Black community are the issue – not them.
Some parents have abandoned their children and have left them to figure out things on their own, which is a spirit that has been, and is currently being, passed on from generation to generation.
Our Black youth are not the root of the problem, many of us are, so it is time to take responsibility and own up to our failures as the spiritual, community, business, political and family leaders we should be.