by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Harlem’s 17-year-old Afrika Owes, named “Harlem’s sweetheart” by her mother, was arrested February 16th for her involvement with a violent crack gang called “137th Street Crew.” According to reports from NYDailyNews.com, “Owes spent two months in jail before the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church posted $25,000 bail.”
Although Owes will not be privileged to escape punishment, she has received an unusual “gift” from the Manhattan courts. Expected to plead guilty to conspiracy and weaponry charges at her July 7th court hearing, she already started her 90 days in Rikers Island prison on Tuesday. The latter is to allow her to be out of jail early in the school year. Perhaps this is the result of her church’s prayers.
Owes was known in her church for her talent in poetry and singing in the choir. It is believed that she got involved in the gang because of her boyfriend, and her church, friends, and family just hope Afrika will be able to recover her life from her bad decisions. Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of Abyssinian, says, “I’m very, very thankful for this outcome. You can’t ask for anything better than that … Hopefully, she has learned already and can get on with her life.”
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.