Within the history of African Americans and the tales handed down in our own families, most of us can point to examples where the elders — that means our grandparents, parents, older siblings, aunts, uncles and the rest, have made personal sacrifices — even putting their very lives on the line — in order to protect their children.

That’s because we have always understood that our children are the future — that they carry a bit of each of their ancestors with them — and hopefully they are able to achieve greater success than those who came before them and prepared the path upon which they would travel.

But sometimes we fail in our duties to protect our children, to love them and gently nudge them as they begin to explore the world. We forget, or perhaps ignore the fact that they are special gifts — treasures of unimaginable worth.

Earlier this week, a 2-year-old boy, Aceyson Aizim Ahmad, who lived in Southeast with his mother and her live-in boyfriend, died from injuries sustained during a severe beating. The boyfriend has since been charged with first-degree murder but maintains that he is innocent.

We believe that the real story and the truth behind what happened to this little boy will become known as the court proceedings continue. But for now, in a home where anger, frustration and domestic violence have allegedly been part of the normal routine, adults riding on a tenuous, emotional roller coaster, have allowed their challenges to harm the child whose life and future rested in their hands.

They failed that child. Perhaps in a sense we have all failed that child. Someone knew that things weren’t going well in that home — as in many other homes — and yet they said nothing, they did nothing. And so, a child who could have been our next Dr. King, Langston Hughes or Barack Obama, will never have the chance to realize his fullest potential. Children are our most precious treasures — greater than silver and gold. Our future rests in their small, innocent hands.

We must end the abuse — now.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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