Our fifth podcast with Azim Khamisa is difficult to put into words. Karl, our podcast host, walked out of recording and said he had chills all over his body. We have gotten similar feedback from many other listeners. For those of you who do not know, Azim Khamisa’s son, Tariq Khamisa, was delivering a pizza when he fell victim to youth gang violence. He was shot by a fourteen year old, who was encouraged by the gangs leader who was 18. Azim cannot even put into words how painful this experience was for him, his family, and his son’s fiancee.
What makes Azim such an amazing person, is that he forgave. He realized that the boy who killed his son was not the enemy. The enemy is society, who pushes young boys into lives filled with alcohol, gangs, and violence.He felt that the killing of his son created victims on both sides so he reached out to Ples Felix, the grandfather of the man who killed his son. After talking, Ples and Azim decided to partner to end youth violence in America. They wanted to work together to prevent tragic events of our youth being killed or even killing each other.
It’s difficult to add onto a story that is so powerful, but there is no doubt that Azim has a valuable lesson for us to learn. He speaks not just about the horrible toll that youth violence takes, but also that we need to learn to forgive. If you are anything like me, it is difficult to imagine forgiving the person who killed my son. Azim forgave the boy, and took action to improve the world and to fix the problem that his son fell victim to. That lesson is what I think is powerful for us. We are going to face terrible events in our lives. It is unavoidable, but we can follow Azim’s example. He forgave, and he moved forward to fix the problem in an unbelievably difficult situation. Azim wants us to know that we make up the society that encouraged the youth violence that Azim seeks to end and we are responsible for changing society as a result. How can we forgive someone today? How can we tackle a problem that harms our lives and our country?
I hope you learned something from Azim’s story. Leave a comment below telling us about a time you forgave and moved forward to fix the problem.