Niagara Gazette

September 1, 2012

DeLuca: Fighting the darkness for Isabella

Michele DeLuca
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — I can't seem to stop thinking about Isabella. 

From the moment they found her body down the street from my newspaper two weeks ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that beautiful 5-year-old child and her family. I know I am not the only one.

By now, everyone knows the details of one of the most horrific killings in memory. A sweet precious life was taken in a senseless act of violence.

It’s impossible to believe that someone could hurt a little girl like that and dispose of her in a garbage can just blocks away from where I sit at my desk this very moment. 

It’s not my loss. It’s not my tragedy. But it feels as if it is, and many days  later I still feel sad.

I’m guessing there are many parents or grandparents who share my painful empathy for Isabella Tennant's parents and grandparents and all those who loved her. If if could happen to her it could happen to you or me or any of our precious, beautiful children. 

My heart breaks for the whole family, but especially for the grandmother who opened her home to the teen who is charged with the crime. I’m certain she thought she was doing her part to bring light into a troubled soul. Who among us could have turned our back to a struggling teen neighbor who helped out with chores and whose own home was at times without necessities such as heat.

My heart breaks for the alleged killer’s friend, apparently a teen with the conscious, who went to the police and led police to the girl’s body. And yes, my heart breaks for the teen accused with her death. His life, too, has been destroyed by his own inability to control himself.

Isabella’s death stirred the whole city.  Hundreds came out to the vigil the night she was found, as a clear, emotional protest against a world where little girls can get killed by those supposed  to keep them safe.

And most everyone wonders ... How do we fight against the violence that darkens the corners of this city — and of every impoverished city? How do we make a dent against the senseless violence?

There is only one answer. This doesn’t come from the heart of a liberal who wants to solve other people’s problems. This comes from the heart of a mother who believes people should be taught to solve their own problems.

Believe me, there is hope out there. Everyday that I walk and drive through these neighborhoods, I am touched by the many homes that are carefully tended, and lovingly groomed. Those homes strike me as islands of hope in a city where there sometimes seems not much to hope for.

But, we all know people who are trying to do better and trying to make things better. I surely do. I meet them everyday. 

My belief is that if you want to fight the violence, the poverty and the hopelessness, the very easiest thing to do is to support those out there who are working to create change.  

They are called change agents. They are the ones leading the way out of the darkness. They reside in every city. They represent the unfolding of thousands of ideas on how to make things better. Sometimes, they work alone.

You want the world to be a better place, find a change agent and give them your support.  Better yet, step into the fray and do one tiny thing to make the world a better place.  Then, you will become an agent for change.

Without a doubt, there is only one way to fight the darkness and that is to fortify the light. I believe that is the best way to honor Isabella and all the little ones just like her.

Contact Features Editor Michele DeLuca at 282-2311, ext. 2263.