On June 30, 2017 four bullets claimed the life of 21 year old Jackisha Bayard. In what seemed to be a cowardly act of domestic rage, her boyfriend shot her thrice in the back and once in the chest with a handgun. Miami Homicide Detectives are investigating the details of this senseless incident. No doubt, they will soon have complete answers for the family and friends of Jackisha Bayard as the boyfriend appears to be remorseful and cooperating. And although the case may be wrapped up in a matter of just weeks, the root of this tragedy remains in our community for more to experience.

Domestic violence amongst our youth is way too prevalent, and often times, way too fatal. The idea of abusive relationships that lead to fatalities usually makes us think about older couples with alcohol or hard drugs involved. But that simply is not the truth of the matter.

Domestic violent occurs just as frequent, if not more, in relationships amongst tweens. To stop it, we must look to the elemental circumstances, which could be even worse than alcohol or hard drugs… I grew up in the same community as Jackisha Bayard and her boyfriend. From experience I know how alcohol, mainly, can accelerate the tension in even the smallest conflicts. Or create a conflict when there isn’t one.

But I also know the sheer ignorance in many males who call themselves men–living by the false pretense that aggression towards women is somehow a manly birthright. That perception is as much the cause for young boys carrying out this behavior as anything. It is especially bad in our black community. We have been routinely taught to extol only our mothers and tear down every other black woman. A problematic culture has compelled us to view them only as bitches and hoes and unworthy creatures who we just enjoy sex with. Young black boys pick up the idea of physically abusing black girls as naturally as verbal abuse.

In some instances the scenario is vice versa–young girls exacting aggression over young boys. The common factor has much to do with our pride and love for each other being lost to wrongful influence and false precepts. I’ve seen it in my area growing up and I see it in this era. Young black boys think it’s macho to muscle around women. I cannot recall, not even once as a youth, an older male telling me that I should treat a woman like a queen. That I should cherish her. And most importantly never–for any reason–result to violence with her.

Sadly, it is the complete opposite message that exists in our community. One that’s repeatedly handed down from men to boys over generations.

With this mentality, verbal and physical violence will surely grow into murder when and if alcohol, drugs, and psychological quirks start to weigh in. Our youth must be taught and shown the correct way to value life as well as one another. Young boys must know every woman is to be handled with the same care given to their mothers. Older males have to understand it starts with their influence.

Fathers must take the time to teach their sons. Mothers must put forth a conscious effort as well. Have the conversation regularly in your household. So whether or not the message resonates on the other side of your front door, it’s planted in that boy’s mind–giving him at least a chance to rebuke the distorted precepts that loom in the streets.

Whether or not Jackisha Bayards’ murder was associated with her boyfriend’s use of drugs, alcohol, or psychological issues is yet to be determined. What is known, though, it happened too quick and easy. At 21 years old she is gone too soon.

We must appeal to our youth. Break the chain young people. Little brothers, respect [all] life. But specifically, love, protect, and cherish our women.

Miss Jackisha Bayard, and all victims fatally lost to domestic violence, may you rest in peace. You are loved and missed by your family and friends.

Mike Harper is a screenwriter and novelist best known for his 2008 debut novel, STREET RAISED: The Beginning. Since releasing its mesmeric 2010 follow-up, SUGAR: The Life of a Kingpin's Wife, he has worked perpetually to complete 6 more collective volumes in addition to an explosive new love & war trilogy titled, Perfume & Gunpowder. There's two scintillating biographies to go along with the list and an erotic self-titled love story that's full of hard to swallow moments and breathless sighs from start to finish.

Harper's latest work includes collaborative screenwriting with fellow writer, Plex, on the BadlandEnt.com webseries, RISE & GRIND.

With over ten years of literary experience, he works as content editor for Badland Publishing, Book Gang Media, and Plex Presents. Occasionally known to flirt with journalism, Harper's writing charm has appeared in magazines such as the long-standing Don Diva, the fleeting Urban Celebrity, and hip-hop's newest source of hot news, the Urban Exposure magazine.

He grew up on the not so picturesque side of Miami. Taking that experience, he has unapologetically fashioned it into an art of illustrating vivid stories; albeit books, screenplays, or editorials.

Over 20 novels doctored or written by Harper are currently available on Amazon, BadlandPub.com and BookGangMedia.com. With 15 more self-authored novels already complete and digitally housed, the next few years of publication promises to be even more busy for the writer who swears he has not slept more than 4 hours a night since the debut of STREET RAISED.

The sleepless novelist, screenwriter, editor and quasi-journalist is now adding CSB to his fold of literary platforms.