Back in my day (I can’t believe I’m old enough to say that), we had block parties. They were always around the time school was going to be out for the summer and were kick off for every kid’s break. It was the only time we were allowed to stay out even when the street lights were on. My mother and my chosen aunties would watch from our porch as my play cousins and I did every crank dat dance that was hot that year. The pinks, greens, and blues, from the dj’s strobe light danced in the sky, battling the police helicopter searchlight as it zig zagged on the neighborhood looking for whomever. When we weren’t clapping our hands to the infectious beat of Soulja Boy’s “She Gotta Donk,” we were cuffing them to catch fireflies and let them glow in our hands. As it starts to warm up my hopes get as high as the sun finally is, but recently I can’t help but to feel let down because I don’t see block parties anymore and I’m afraid my little cousins and siblings won’t either. There’s a running joke among us Black Americans: “N****s ruin everything.” We say it jokingly when we’re mildly or severely inconvenienced by one of our own, or when one of us dies senselessly because of one of our own. As I type I am thinking of the things and people that have been taken from us, by us, and I wonder, are we joking anymore?