To the Swirling Familes, a Cautionary Tale to Remind Us to Vet The Neighborhoods As Well as We Vet Our Men.

It’s almost like a skit for the show, “What Would You Do.” Except the characters are real, and so is the scenario.

On Staten Island, in the fury of Hurricane Sandy, a mother cried for help from her neighbors as her two boys–four and two–were caught by flood waters and carried away to their doom. The boys were snatched from their mother’s arms when a wave hit after they evacuated from their car. Their mother, Glenda Moore, panicked. She ran to a neighbor’s home and cried for help and for the man who answered to call 911. “I don’t know you. I’m not going to help you,” was what the neighbor said, and shut the door in her face. She went to another home and begged and pleaded for someone, anyone, to help her. But her cries were ignored and the neighbor shut off the lights and refused to answer.

Out of her mind with grief, Glenda Moore stood on 400-block of Fr. Capodanno Boulevard and screamed for help for her boys for 12 hours. For 12 long hours she screamed for her babies, and no one came to aid her. Later Connor and Brandon would be found just 30 yards from where their mother lost them, under water and covered with debris from the storm.

If I had a chance to speak to Glenda Moore’s neighbors, I would have to ask them, “Where is your humanity?! How does it feel to know that your heartless indifference might have contributed to Brandon and Conner’s death? How do you listen to 12 hours of heart-wrenching screams FROM YOUR NEIGHBOR AND NOT OFFER ANY HELP OR COMFORT?!”

When I look at the players in this tragedy, I can’t help but notice that Glenda is black and her husband is white. I can’t help but wonder if the color of her skin contributed to the cold indifference she received in her 12 hours of need. And from all that I’m hearing, it sounds like Staten Island isn’t a place for interracial couples and their children to thrive. It looks to me that certain individuals living in Staten Island feel nothing about two , half-black babies drowning like dogs.

Glenda Moore and her husband Damien

Glenda Moore is not without her critics outside of Staten Island. People wonder aloud why she didn’t take measures to evacuate before the storm as she was warned to do. They also wonder why, at the last minute, would she take her boys into the care and try to flee the streets of Staten Island were swallowed in water. Does her lack of planning and prudence absolve the neighbors of any culpability? Hell no. If you’ve got power and a phone and you don’t call 911 when a mother begs you for help, you’re going to have to reconcile your justification with your maker. Explain to God on your day of judgement why you didn’t lift a finger to help the 5’3 130-pound black woman screaming outside your door.

Mixed couples, take heed. There are certain states and neighborhoods you should think long and hard about moving into and raising your children in. This may be 2012, but racism and bigotry still exist.

Mike (The Hubster) and I have always been sensitive to this fact, and I’ve said on many occasions here that we would never live anywhere in the South, most of the MidWest, and now that I know better, Staten Island. Before we moved to Temecula, Mike expressed his concern about us moving here because of how white is was in comparison to Corona, just 35 miles away but a bit more ethnically diverse. Like a good father, he wanted to protect his kids. So I called the police department and asked about local crime in the area where we chose to live. I also called the local chapter of the NAACP and asked if there had been in reported hate crimes in the area. Then I crossed checked the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate map to check if any known white supremacist groups had roots in the area. Finally, we made several trips to our neighborhood at different times of day to see how the children interacted with ours and to see if the neighbors were friendly and welcoming. After all of that, I can say in confidence that come an emergency, none of our neighbors would shut the door in my face and tell me I was on my own.

Parents, you have to vet the neighborhoods and the people in them. Do your research and take the time to see if you and your spouse are living in an area where your children can thrive. It’s one thing if you and your partner wish to thumb your nose at racists and refuse to be daunted. It’s another when you bring children who lack the proper coping skills and wherewithal to rise above that negativity.

Finally, say a prayer for Glenda and Damien. They’re going to need it.

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