Local tragedy a reminder that if we try, we can be part of the change we wish to see

Yesterday’s newspaper is still lying on my kitchen table. A photo of 16-year-old Nicholas Lemmon Lindsey stares back at me and I’m left wondering, why? Earlier this week, Lindsey shot and killed St. Petersburg police officer David Crawford, a 25-year veteran. Police searched the area near my workplace Tuesday morning in what became the largest manhunt in city history. After receiving a few tips, police were led to Lindsey, who ultimately admitted to killing Crawford.

During a moment of silence yesterday at work, my colleagues shared their reflections on the news. One colleague asked how someone so young could so easily get a gun. The reality, another colleague responded, is that guns are a lot easier to get than one would hope. Lindsey bought his last week for a mere $140.

The news made me feel deeply sorry for Crawford’s family, and it motivated me to want to do more in the community to help troubled youth. Today I met with my Little Sister, who attends the same middle school that Lindsey did. It was her 13th birthday, so I brought her a ring from Target that has Ghandi’s famous quote engraved on it: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I have the same ring and wear it every day as a reminder that we can’t just talk about change; we have to be part of it.

If we want our community to change for the better, we have to be willing to embrace the challenges that come with change. My impact as a Big Sister is small; I’m meeting with just one girl for just one hour a week. But it’s something. Sometimes, having one person in your life who cares and encourages you to make good choices makes all the difference. And sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to hold onto hope that it can.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

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