Young People to Jin Cheng Yu -- Keep Your Head Up

Young People to Jin Cheng Yu -- Keep Your Head Up

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Editor’s Note: Two 18-year-old African-American men were charged with murder but not hate crimes Thursday in the fatal beating of a 59-year old Chinese-American man who had come to the aid of his son. According to prosecutors, Tian Sheng Yu and his son, Jin Cheng Yu, 27, were attacked last Friday in Oakland as they were on their way to shop for coins at a jewelry store.

Prosecutors say the son was the first victim, being sucker-punched by Drummer as the elder Yu was parking his car. Officials say Yu told his father about the attack, and the two began looking for the assailants. When Tian Sheng Yu approached the two men to ask in Mandarin why they had punched his son, he was beaten. He was hospitalized and died four days later.

Eight writers from Yo! Youth Outlook Multimedia write to the Jin Cheng Yu to offer their thoughts on the death of his father.

”Be the son that you know he would want you to be”

Dear Jin Cheng Yu,

I’m sorry these young men put you and your family in so much pain. This incident was caused by something way bigger than what it seems—this isn’t just about you and your father. These types of assaults happen all the time, especially to Chinese and Mexican people. I don’t know why they’re targeted, but in the communities I’ve grown up in, that’s just how it is.

I’m not black. But people see that I’m a young mother with two kids and assume things about me. They assume I’m a bad mother.

The suspects who assaulted you fit the stereotype, but there might be reasons why they act violently. They might not have grown up with family morals or values. They might come from broken homes. They might have seen people get beat up, stabbed, and shot when they were kids, so now that they’re older, they don’t feel bad when someone bleeds to death on the ground.

Jin Cheng Yu, I hope this incident will not turn you into a person you are not. Everything happens for a reason. This experience will make you stronger. I’m truly saddened by your family’s misfortune but hopefully you know that not all young folks act in this violent way.

If my son told me that he’d been beat up, I, too, would want to beat up whoever hurt him. I would call my man and cousins to back me up. I wouldn’t try anything by myself. If I were elder, I would call the police.

You need to know what happened to your father is not your fault. You did the right thing by telling your father what happened when you got beat up. Beating yourself up about what happened will only make coping with loss harder.

Most people turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with life-shattering experiences, but self-medication only cures you for a little while. Your father made it through the pearly white gates. He’ll be watching and looking after you, so make him proud. Be the son that you know he would want you to be.
--Valerie Klinker, 19

”Don’t Take Your Frustrations Out on the African-American Community”

Dear Mr. Yu,

First, I want to send you my heartfelt condolences. Losing a parent is complicated no matter what. When you lose a parent to violence, confusion is added to the list of heartfelt emotions.

However, I plead that you don’t take your frustrations out on the African-American/black community.
I know stereotypes will have you thinking African Americans are ignorant, uncivilized and violent.

Regardless of the world’s perception of American Americans, we should be known for the loving, intelligent, and peaceful people that most of us are. All cultures have downfalls, but what’s most important is how we as individuals carry ourselves. So please direct the feelings of anger you have to those two individuals, not all African Americans.

I can’t explain why those boys decided to try and prove themselves by bullying you and your father. Some young people do it for street credibility. Others do it because they feel disrespected and their role models have taught them to defend their respect by any means necessary. Most of these young men don’t realize the life-long consequences they will face from making one bad decision.

Sadly, I feel that the African-American community has failed to mentor and give our young people the hope to believe they can be more than the stereotypes that depict us on television.

Culturally, we African Americans are accustomed to disciplining our children. We traditionally believe it takes a village to raise a child. That means that when we see a child we know “acting out,” we make it our personal responsibility to discipline and teach the child right from wrong. Somewhere over time, we’ve stopped caring about everyone else and started focusing on ourselves. This shift has been detrimental ever since it started happening.

My generation is currently lost, but we should still be held accountable for our actions. I’m not trying to persuade you to believe it wasn’t those kids’ fault for the death of your father. They must be held responsible for their actions.

I can understand why your father tried to protect you. It’s innate to want to protect youth, no matter how old you are.

In the African-American community, it's an unwritten rule that you are a weak person if you lose a fight. Furthermore, if you are thought of as weak, you are more likely to be harassed by others. So they figure the only solution is to fight to the death. Like I said, your father was a victim of this senseless mentality.

Individuals such as myself are making it our own personal responsibility to teach young people idioms, like, “A true friend will never lead a friend to danger” and “You’re only one choice away from a bad decision.” Although we can’t stop violence completely, we can do things to slow it down.

I apologize that your family has to go through this pain because these young people were not taught the value of life. I hope that you will remember all the positive memories of your hardworking, protective father.

With Sympathy and Heartfelt Compassion,
--Alicia Marie, 19 

"Call the Police Because Officers Exist to Serve and Protect Us"

To Mr. Jin Cheng Yu,

I am very sorry to hear about the death of your pops. He was a brave man. He loved the heck out of you to be that old and still want to protect you the way he did. I just wish you could have left your father out of this. I don't want to make you feel bad so I will say that you did what you knew how to do. It’s not your fault as much as the guys who did it. Karma is a mutha and these young men are going to get what’s coming their way.

I want you to know that you’re not alone, that incidents like this unfortunately happen all the time. People pick on certain individuals who they know are “weak” and can’t fight back.

Those who feel like their life is in danger and feel scared should call the police because officers exist to serve and protect us.

I hope you don’t do anything regrettable because of your father’s death. Try to keep a sane mind and let your father rest in peace. Do what you can to stay safe and out of harm's way. Let’s just keep your father in our prayers and hope he’s watching over you.

I was once like one of these young suspects who randomly attacked Mr. Yu. I got stuck with a lot of stiff consequences for my actions and I paid heavily for them. Let the law handle these young men. I’m sure that authorities will take the necessary actions needed to ensure some closure for you, even though I know what you’re going through isn’t easy.
-- Amanze Emenike, 22


"I Know How Hard It Is to Cope with Death"

Dear Jin Cheng Yu,

Sorry that you and your father were victims of crime. People who commit crimes like this one are most likely from bad neighborhoods and grew up without parental guidance. They probably didn’t go out intending to beat you up, but their anger somehow got directed your way.

This is pretty common for cities like Oakland. There are hundreds of youth walking around all day looking for trouble. You just happen to be in the right place at the wrong time.

People who commit crimes like this one should spend time in prison. There shouldn’t be any way around that. But know that not all black people are the same. People assume I’m a criminal because I’m black. But I’m not a criminal.

To be honest, I don’t know what it would be like to be in your position right now. I’ve never been assaulted. These young men perceived you as a vulnerable person and took advantage of you.
Some of my close friends died in the last three weeks. I know how hard it is to cope with death. I get upset and want to let my anger out, but I know it’s not the best choice to act out. If I do, I might end up in jail just like these suspects.

Taking time for myself has helped me deal with these deaths. I’ve been resting and talking to supportive people who truly care about me. Keep your head up.
-- Kavon Jones, 16

"Oakland Has the Knack of Taking Good People"

Dear Jin Cheng Yu,

My name is Oscar and I am a resident of Oakland. I live in the Fruitvale area, which is a fairly safe place. When I heard about what happened to you and your father, I was shocked and disappointed.

Disappointed that such violent incidents happen in Oakland, a city I consider my home. I do not blame you for seeking answers.

I don’t believe there are good people or bad people. No one is perfect. Instead, I believe there are good people and there are confused and lost people. It’s not clear why your father and you were victims of this act of violence. It pains me to hear about your father’s death; I had hoped he would get better and recover.

Oakland has the knack of taking good people. I’m not asking you to forgive the men who assaulted your father; I ask that you forgive the streets of Oakland that have claimed both good and lost, confused people.
-- Oscar Sevellon, 18

“I Don’t Understand Why You Put Your Father in the Mix”

Dear Mr. Yu,

I’m sorry about your father. It is shameful to learn that young men put their hands on you and your father.

I don’t understand why you put your father in the mix. I understand that two men came up to you and put there hands on you for no reason. However, that doesn’t mean you should have gone to get your father. If you didn’t want these men to fight you, you should have just walked away and not come back. You saw what these men did to you. How could you know, anticipate what they would do to your father?

Mr. Yu, I’m very sorry and I really hope that everything works out for you. I just heard your father didn’t make it. I don't want you to walk around and have that guilt on your shoulders for the rest of your life. I know it might be hard but keep your head up. God bless and be safe out here in these streets.
-Bobby Jackson, 19

"Keep Your Head Up"

Dear Jin Cheng Yu,

First of all, I want to send my prayers to your father and the rest of your family. What happened to you and your family was wrong and just plain stupid. The day and age we live in right now is chaotic. Kids shooting kids, fathers raping children and just all-out hate. Some blame the economy, some blame the minorities, and some blame the parents. There’s no upbringing, no more morals, nothing to stand for. If you ask the average teenager these days what they want to be when they grow up, I’ll bet their answer would surprise you. Gone are the days when young people dreamed of being lawyers, doctors, professional athletes or even the president of the United States. Nowadays, kids don't even go to school. Can you see where the future is going? I’m sharing this information to let you know that this is the world we live in today. I’m not saying that it’s right and I’m not making an excuse for what those kids did to you and your father, but I want you to know that it’s not your fault what happened. I’m sorry your family had to experience this ignorant and violent behavior. Keep your head up and your family will continually be in my prayers.
-- Thomas Taper, 24

“R.I.P Mr. Yu”

Dear Mr. Yu,

Everybody makes mistakes they regret. But when you unintentionally get your own father’s life taken away, that’s a big mistake. I would feel responsible if I were in Jin Yu’s situation. Personally, I would have handled the confrontation myself. I would have fought it out.

But if I were Jin Yu and felt scared about getting attacked, I would have called the police. I wouldn’t have gotten my father involved. How can you be a grown man and not try to handle your issues on your own? His father looks fragile; why would Jin Yu allow his father to go looking for the suspects?

I know the suspects are sick. They’re about to spend a lot of time in jail for a few punches. They had no legit reason to assault the father and son. They make the black community look bad. Now everybody is going to think black people are violent people.

Jin Yu should leave California because if this was his first fight and he lost his dad, the next fight he might loose his life. Living in California, you’re bound to run into a few knuckleheads and if you can’t defend yourself, you’re in a lot of trouble. Living around hyenas, wolves, gorillas and lions is dangerous. Jin Yu is a sheep. He might want to surround himself with people of his kind.

R.I.P Mr. Yu.
-- David Cunnginham, 19