By Natasha Marie
Being in the right place at the wrong time could cost you everything! Just picture it: You’re a single mom who’s faced with the daunting task of paying all of the bills with little or no help. You must work hard to support your family and make ends meet. You’re trying to be the best role model you can be for your son, but often you wish there were strong Black men in your life or his who could positively impact him and encourage him to make wise choices. Your son is an only child growing up in your home, so you desperately want him to have friends his age. Truthfully, you’re not happy about the friends he’s selected lately. You want him to make sound decisions without ‘mommy’ being too overbearing, so you decide to cut him some slack.
One day you head off to work and pray for the best, just like you do every other day. Little do you know that this day wouldn’t turn out to be just like any other normal day. As a matter of fact, this day would permanently alter the very course of life as you know it... for you and your child!
Nicole Cade and son, Nikell
Nicole Cade, also known as “Nikki”, is the 42-year-old mom of one son, Nikell. She is an upstanding, law-abiding citizen. She is a believer in God. She is a faithful employee, and most of all, she’s a mom -- just like many of you who may be reading this. She is heartbroken that her son, Nikell, was recently incarcerated.
Nikki describes her son as kind-hearted, loving and respectful. Her son is very intelligent and enjoyed school as a young child. He didn’t have very many teachers who took him under their wings, but he never had problems at school. He wasn’t a troublemaker. He was the type of child who showed remorse when he made mistakes. Often times, when he did something wrong, he would apologize and then question why he had displayed such actions.
One day, Nikki kissed her son goodbye and headed out the door. She never expected her phone to ring later that day with news from a stranger that her son was in jail. She had every reason to believe her child was safe and sound at school. When you’re focused on making ends meet and just getting through another work day, the last thing you expect to receive is a call from prison informing you that your only child has been taken in for questioning.
On the day he was arrested, Nikell did what many inquisitive and curious 16-year-olds do. He opened the door open to his private life and allowed someone to walk in -- someone he viewed as a friend. The company of this ‘friend’ caused Nikell to end up in a vehicle that was tied to a crime. Because he was present, an arrest was made. As if the arrest weren’t enough, there also was an interrogation that took place before he was given an opportunity for legal representation. Because of his age, Nikell had to be tried as an adult in the state where he lives. Then he had to wait patiently for his sentencing -- a process that took almost an entire year.
As a mother, Nikki always has felt obligated to protect her son. Now that he is in the hands of the judicial system, she often feels helpless. Seeing her son in jail has been one of the most difficult experiences for her as a mother. Recently, she had to go to court and face the judge who would sentence Nikell. The maximum sentence for the crime was as much as 15 years. In July 2017, on the day of the sentencing, Nikki was a ball of emotion again, much the same way she was when she found out Nikell had gone to jail.
Nikki could feel fear trying to rise in her heart that day as she and her beloved son waited to hear how many years this young man would stay in jail. Somehow, this was around the same time she stumbled across the MOBB United Facebook page. The details of her son’s story were purposefully excluded from a post that she shared there, as well as from this article to protect his privacy. Still, it took a tremendous amount of courage for her to post in the group that she needed prayers for her boy. Nikki says she was not only shocked but completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, prayers and support she felt in response to her post. “The presence of a very supportive MOBB family is what allowed me to go into Nikell’s sentencing and stand -- with confidence!” says Nikki.
Nikki’s local community poured out their love also -- in the form of many letters -- to prove this young man’s character. Thankfully, the judge decided to give him 2 years instead of 15. But sadly, the story doesn’t end here. Nikki told me, “My son is in there with grown men and will come out of jail knowing way more than he did when he went in.” The question is, where are the resources that will help to rehabilitate our young Black men once released from the justice system? The level of difficulty they face when trying to assimilate themselves back into society is startling. Nikki went on to explain that although her son will get out of prison in 2 years, “my fear is him being institutionalized!”
This young man was swept into the system. He may or may not have had positive Black male role models to properly influence him. He may or may not have had the kind of friends who had his best interests at heart. He now is faced with the very harsh reality of a criminal justice system that will force him to grow up faster than his mom ever wanted.
The power of a positive mother has the potential to change any negative situation! As a supportive mom, Nikki is dedicated to visiting with her son weekly. She has embraced MOBB United and all the support from fellow moms that she so desperately needs right now. This organization is dedicated to providing just that and will continue to support moms and their sons in this way. In due time, Nikki and Nikell will have the resources they need to beat the “system,” and they will end up just fine. With MOBB United, no mom ever will stand alone again. There is so much work to be done for our sons, so please consider joining us in this fight to protect them.