When I first heard about the murder of Kenneka Jenkins, I was heartbroken. Another young soul lost tragically. Her body found lifeless lying in a freezer. The supposed stories surrounding the murder was damning. To know there’s a possibility that her “friends” were complicit in her death is chilling. It makes you reevaluate the people you call “friends” in your own life.
To be fair, we don’t know all the facts. We’re just piecing together information that is unsubstantiated. Even bigger internet blogs and traditional news outlets are shying away from getting into the particulars of the case. No one truly knows what happens. So, due to this, I don’t have a real opinion. I just have a rush of feelings that are on the way to being a formed opinion but it’s devoid of fact.
However, in this social media discussion that we’re having, I want to shed light on the other Kenneka Jenkins situations that happen every day around America. Kenneka was 19, one year younger than me. I encounter young women just like Kenneka every day on my college campus. I poured my soul in my apology to black women last year, pledging to protect the black women I love so dearly. This is me honoring my promise.
In response to the tragedy of Kenneka Jenkin’s death, I posed a question on my social media about how to handle yourself in party environments and around people you might not be familiar with. To some of us, this is conventional wisdom and pure common sense. For others, this is a rude awakening to the realities of life. You never know where people are in their life. So, allow me to spark this discussion that’ll hopefully enlighten my peers, their parents and save lives.
Question: “What advice would you give freshman/high schoolers about how to be safe when going out for a party based on your experiences?”
The following are responses from current college students, college graduates, parents, authors and educators that I requested via my Facebook and Twitter.
-Don’t trust your roommates just because they’re your roommates. Never let your guard down. It’s okay to be the serious one. -Simone Bates via Facebook
-Stay together, but don’t trust anyone. Keep your drink covered with a napkin at all times. Never leave alone. -Whisper Jones via Facebook
-If something doesn’t feel right, LEAVE. Better to piss off your friends than to regret it later. Don’t drink ANYTHING that you didn’t pour/mix yourself or saw it done in front of you. Everybody is NOT your friend. Especially if they showed signs of betraying you before. They WILL do it again. -Gabrielle Herald via Facebook
-Stop kicking it with frenemies! This seems to be the thing to do for some reason. If you don’t like them and you know they don’t like you, stop forcing the damn issue. It’s not like you’re getting paid to do it, like a reality show or something. -Danielle Pierce via Facebook
-Whatever you do, be respectful and watchful. When you see Greeks strolling do not try to engage in their activities and do not break their line. If you see them coming just politely step out of the way. It’s a respect thing. Always go to a party with friends. Have a designated driver to keep watch over you. Set a meeting time and place to meet up when the party is over to make sure everyone is okay. Never drink and drive or drive and drink. Do not fall into peer pressure and do anything you do not want to do. If you don’t want to go for a bike ride. You don’t have to. -Justin Thecookbookk Hubbard via Facebook
– Stay out in the open. -Deandre Davis via Facebook
-NEVER TAKE DRINKS FROM PEOPLE YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH! -Poppy Milliato via Facebook
-Watch your surroundings and always know where the exits are. If the vibe doesn’t feel right follow your instincts. You must remember that you aren’t kids anymore. You can’t run towards fights like you used to in Grade School. Folks fight with guns now. The #1 rule is if you see somebody take off running, you run too and ask questions later. – Anita Ingram via Facebook
-Go to parties in groups. it’s not childish to hold hands when walking through the crowd. Never let your girl get too drunk and always leave with who you came with. -Chelsea A. Walton via Facebook
-Learn your drinking limit at home or with friends not at your 1st party/parties! -Kimberly Ivey via Facebook
-If you don’t have a true group of friends that will stand by you the whole night..don’t waste your time and life on that party and friends. [email protected]_Sheffey via Twitter
-ALWAYS be sober enough to watch out for yourself AND your friends who might not be able to watch out for themselves. [email protected] via Twitter
-Make sure the people that call themselves your friends are really your friends. [email protected] via Twitter
-Always be aware of your surroundings. Make sure the people you are with stay together at all times. Remember that no matter if you are at a party or not, someone is always watching so carry yourself with dignity. Most importantly, stand up for what you firmly believe even if no one else agrees. -Amber Briana via Facebook
-Do not drink on your first clubbing excursion to a new destination and/or with new people. Get to know the atmosphere and learn the people you are going with. -Lauren Montgomery Parker via Facebook
-Learn your drinking limit and know your surroundings. Make sure you’re with the right crew and know what you’re drinking too. -Gordon Alexander Linton
-Only go with people you know. Make sure someone is sober. Don’t let a hook up at the bar or club leave the spot with you. If something doesn’t feel right, leave. Don’t try to see the fight, just make your exit. You have nothing to prove. If someone gets in your space/face, IT IS COOL to WALK AWAY! -Brianna Jackson, Award-Winning Young Adult Author, via Facebook
-Don’t be afraid to call your parents when something is wrong even if you think they’ll be upset with you. They have your best interest at heart and will do anything to help you no matter the situation -Valescia LeLe Shannon via Facebook
-Watch the company you keep, somebody in the group needs to be sober and it’s okay if you are the sober one, watch out for your friends, don’t drink it or smoke it if it’s not yours…let somebody other than who you are with know your whereabouts and when all else fails just stay home!!!! – Kanesha Keke Williams via Facebook
-Don’t sit your drink down or leave it unattended always travel at least in two’s and let someone know where your going and with who with a contact #. -Alecia Brown via Facebook
Always be aware of your surroundings. Trust your gut feeling. If the vibe is off leave. Never go out alone. Remember at the end of the day everybody don’t have the same heart as you. If you come out with a group, leave with that same group. Always always always have a sober person in the group-Imani Williams via Facebook
Step Up! Say something to a buddy trying to get a girl wasted so he can get her in bed. Stop the situation if you see it and don’t roll out with a girl that is heavily intoxicated. Protect yourself and those in a compromised situation.-John P. Dennis, Author & Playwright, via Facebook
Always be aware of your surroundings. And make sure someone knows where you will be at all times. Check in with them from time to time. You don’t have to take anything if it’s offered to you. Don’t let your friends go anywhere by themselves.-Amber Brown via Facebook
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.