Amy Inita Joyner-Francis, a 16-year-old girl from Delaware, was having a normal Monday when she chose to celebrate her puppy love on Instagram over who she thought her boyfriend was at the time.
Shortly after her post was published she was forewarned in her comments not to return to Howard High School of Technology the following day.
According to reports, her friends spoke of Amy as having a kind and peaceful nature. She never thought to fight or encouraged fighting among others. One student even recalled a moment where he was about to fight and Amy intervened.
Last week, on Thursday (April 21), Amy did attend school and sought to resolve the conflict between her and the other girls. Like the opening scene of "Lean on Me," Amy was beaten by five girls in the bathroom, but while onlookers recorded the incident. During the altercation, as it's been reported, Amy hit her head on the bathroom sink and it proved to be fatal. In this moment, however, Amy's life wasn't the only one taken. As a result of their inability to see past their anger toward Amy, the lives' of the five girls who participated, too, are lost, likely to the prison system if convicted.
The young girls that did this to Amy are a product of media that encourages women to be disrespectful and violent to one another over any futile issue. Understanding the power of TV and social media as an influence is very imperative to grasp this story. We've seen the popularity of reality series where, on prime-time television, women verbally and physically fight over minute problems as opposed to having mature discussions. Furthermore with most people's lack of understanding on how to properly use social media, we've got a formula for disastrous situations, unfortunately, like Anita's death.
Though Amy's death is tragic there is a bigger lesson to be learned in the loss of her life.
Let's try to understand a few things about the world today and how that could have prevented this horrific incident:
Reality TV Isn't Real And Should Be Labeled Better
Real Housewives, Love and Hip-Hop, Bad Girls Club, Flavor of Love and its spinoffs are all scripted scenarios and should be labeled as such before airing. These shows need censorship for the graphic content they display as it is proving to effect the lives of young people socially. These shows have perpetuated, to an impressionable demographic that often live in low income communities, the idea that the best option to resolve a conflict is to fight.
Fight For Things That Really Matter
To be physical is an extreme level of emotion that should only be targeted toward fighting oppressive behavior and injustice. Understand that life is cyclical, people come and they go, fighting because of an attachment to someone is driven by ego and in-turn not the "good fight." Caution young people and all people: How you treat others in a reflection of how you too want to be treated. Before you think to harm someone ask yourself is it worth it if I heard this happened to someone I loved or myself would I be OK.
Social Media Is A Public Place, Keep Anything Private Offline
As we have seen recently with Kehlani and numerous other celebs, placing your private life on social media has a direct effect on you if you can not accept the outside world's response. Have a filter for your personal business and don't place anything on social media that you can not accept criticism of others. Stop recording each other doing things to harm one another, and stop harming one another. You get a lot more accomplished working together than divided. Don't divide yourselves, no one wants to experience life alone.
Amy was physically taken from us and leaves behind a grieving family and the five girls that did this will lose their future and live with the haunting guilt of their actions. There is a very detrimental effect to the images of violence that we reinforce on the minds of young people. It results in real-life violence, increased death tolls, broken homes, creating divided and poisoned communities who are more dependent on one another than they realize. To break the chain be mindful of the things you allow into your thoughts, fill yourselves with the positive and reposition yourselves to appreciate the value of life. It is a proven fact we need one another to survive, so be better to one another. At the very least, try it for Amy.