May 29th, 2006

 

To Whom It May Concern,

 

                        I'm writing to you, our city leaders, to request that the park at 56th Street North and North Cincinnati Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma, be named in honor of my son, Joseph Adetula, to remind us all of what can happen when our children do not have the community resources they desperately need. In addition, we, the Joseph Adetula Foundation, want to dedicate each park bench to a crime victim in our city with a small plaque memorializing him or her.

 

                         We all love our children. My child, Joseph Adetula, was shot dead on July 4, 2005, cutting short a promising life. He was a champion wrestler and talented football player, known throughout Tulsa and statewide for his athleticism, and a good kid, happy and loving, with a great future ahead of him. Joseph grew up and went to school here in Tulsa only a block away from the park, and when he died at age 18 was within sight of the park.

 

                          Though he is no longer with us in body, my boy is with me in spirit. When I see the other young men and women on the verge of their adulthoods, running through the neighborhoods with little to do but hang out on street corners, I think about my son. And I wonder if he would still be alive today if these young people had been given more to do with their lives.

 

                           The Joseph Adetula Foundation is my way of making my son's life make sense. With my foundation, donations of time and cash are being used to implement programs to help our children stay out of trouble. Instead of joining gangs, our children will be putting on plays and our own Tulsa version of American Idol. Instead of running the streets and getting into trouble, they'll be participating in team sports, learning healthy ways of coping with life from responsible adults like you and me.

 

                           And instead of looking out onto bleak streets filled with weeds and crack -houses, my dream is that our children can look out onto a clean park, an oasis of beauty in our city, that the little ones can play in and the older ones can enjoy.

 

                            Every child in our city deserves a chance at a good life. Tragically, my son will never enjoy that chance. But that doesn't mean our other children can't have that chance. A clean park with good services is one step toward that chance. And the constant reminder of my son's death in the name of this park can serve both as a memorial for him and an aid for our children to look away from the negative aspects that surround them and toward the positive ones.

 

                           Our children are all filled with the potential to change the lives of everyone around them, for good or for evil. It is our responsibility, as the adults of the community, to do everything we can to guide them toward good deeds and remind them of the horror that can come from evil ones.

 

                          You could name this park after a great man, or a social leader. But if you name this park after my son, a young man looked up to by his peers, a wonderful person who is still remembered with love and regret by his many friends, you will be sending our children a message. You will be telling them that their lives count. You will be telling them that we remember with sorrow when they go wrong, or when they are hurt by other troubled children. And you will be telling them that we think their lives can be green and growing and vital, like our park.

 

                          Please, send them the message they need to have. Let them know that each and every one of their lives matters.

 

 

Thank you for your time and interest in this matter.

 

 

Yours Sincerely,