Reader: To Dajia

Published 5:57 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dear Editor,

I continue to ask myself how and why? I am Dajia’s Great Uncle Jefferson Varner III. I am the representative of my brother, Sheldon Varner, who is Dajia’s grandfather, as well as the representative of great grandparents and in that vein of family the Varners, the Browns, the Lees, Kines and the Christians who collectively must correct as well as discover why this tragedy occurred.

Dajia had yet to reach her zenith. Our community has lost a future doctor; a future lawyer; someone has lost their best friend; we have lost a daughter, a granddaughter, a cousin and niece.
Dajia’s father will not have the opportunity to walk his daughter down the aisle; there will be no high school or college graduation to celebrate.

This list of gates which I speak of in terms of life can go on and on…who knows…our Dajia could have been the first female president — because in this country and from this community from which I was raised, all things are possible. But in this moment, in this realm of existence, we will never know or see these things come to fruition.

Our loss of Dajia serves as a reminder of the void we must identify and close for the sake of our children and their children’s future. Now is not the time to say Dajia is in a better place or that God took Dajia away from us, because there is no better place to be than with family and friends, and God would not press upon a child the manner in which we lost her.

This is not the time to speculate, gossip or assume. This is not the time to point fingers or to whisper in the shadows. This is a time to demand better of our community because of Dajia. This is a time and will forever remain the time for accountability and in the name of Dajia, because there need not be another Dajia.

What happened to Dajia matters. It matters that parents and teachers talk more because of Dajia. It matters that parents and neighbors talk more and challenge the young people because of Dajia. It matters that parents and children talk, discuss, love, yet listen and protect because of Dajia. It matters because children are the common denominator in all things that establish precedence in our culture and our future existence.

Now, I want you to do something for Dajia. Take a moment to reflect. Really reflect. Reflect and remember the time we were all Dajia’s age. Remember who you were…and where you were…what were your thoughts at Dajia’s age?

As you reflect upon your own lives as young people, the loss of Dajia impacts and harkens the question once again why and how.

From a historical perspective, many trials and tribulations we have endured collectively — slavery, civil war, the Great Depression, world wars, world conflicts, segregation and this list goes on. But through it all, the child was protected; the child was supported; the child remained — and that same child through the storm of inhumanity survived and continued the struggle of her or his parents. So, again, I ask that you ask yourselves why after all we have survived thus far as a people that we were gathered in this manner of things to bury our future.

In conclusion, this is a very measured response, and it is not indicative of all that is in my heart and mind presently, and hereafter as it applies to our loss, I ask that you take the time tonight and gaze upon the stars. There you will see our Dajia — and as you enjoy a morning sunrise and the beauty of a flower touched by the morning dew, you will see the beauty of an Alabama sunrise and sunset which is our Dajia, because of Dajia…and…in the name of Dajia.

I challenge and demand from all a response; a call to action filled with emotion but with direction and purpose to ensure we are not gathered here again for the sole purpose to bury our future.

Jefferson Varner III
Command Sergeant Major (Retired)
U.S. Army