As we move from Fall into Winter, I cherish the time. Fall is a beautiful time of year for many reasons. And this year, has been a history-defining time for our country. With that being said, I must admit that, on a personal level, November 3 and election-season also brings a time of remembrance and reflection for me.

On November 3, 1992, my 16-year-old brother, Minister Ralik Henton, was murdered in front of my family’s home as he returned from a class at Bible College. He was an innocent victim caught between the crossfire of rival gangs. And from that night, life was changed. He was born September 23 and so this season also brings pain for my family. I don’t often share this story especially since my years of community activism and work in the anti-violence movement. But this year, my spirit felt moved to do so.

Perhaps because as I live in this moment of our country’s first Black President-Elect, Barack Obama, I see all that a young, bright, positive young man named Ralik could have been. I am grateful for Ralik’s life, and, yet, I also understand his death. It was in that moment that I began to accept my destiny. I started to understand that I was gifted to touch the lives of young people. Thus began my journey. In October that journey marked my first year with the 21st Century program and for that I am grateful. Life really is a gift, and no day is promised. There is a time for all things; a time to cry and today, if no other day, a time to rejoice. Live each moment in its fullness.


Alia Henton-Williams
Director, 21st Century Programs