R.I.P. Imani Jennings

The death of the 20 month-old Imani Jennings, due to the beatings administered by her mother and mother’s boyfriend, is on most people’s minds in CNY this week. It is the kind of news that just makes you want to throw up your hands, and retreat from the world. There is absolutely nothing to be gleaned from this story other than horror, pain and evil. The bad news is compounded by the fact that the teenage mother is pregnant again.

There are caring people in this community and there are numerous agencies that will investigate the problems and try to determine what went wrong. There may be task forces and studies and programs created as a result of this murder. But the little girl will still be dead and another little one will be placed in danger when she is born to the mother in this case.

Imani apparently means belief or faith in Swahili. That faith has been severely tested.


3 thoughts on “R.I.P. Imani Jennings

  1. Donna Alvah

    This has deeply disturbed me as well. These stories always greatly trouble me, but this one in particular has weighed heavily on my mind since I learned about it on Monday. I share the feelings of wanting to retreat from the world, but the sadness and horror evoked by this story (I keep thinking about what that poor baby endured, how she must not have understood why the people who were supposed to be her caretakers were hurting her so badly) also has pushed me to want to do SOMETHING to try to prevent another child from enduring anything like this. I’ve e-mailed state and federal government officials and news sites, and will e-mail television programs as well. I donated $50 in Imani’s name to http://preventchildabuseny.org/. What might have prevented this criminal abuse of Imani? Her relatives (including her biological father) knew that the mother and 15-year-old boyfriend were hitting her hard, and did nothing about it. Either they were not educated about what they could do, or they did not really care, despite what they now claim. The father and grandmother seemed to think that the harsh treatment of this baby–which they witnessed!–was basically an alternative disciplinary technique. It was not “discipline,” it was vicious, criminal abuse. [Here is a quote from one of the internet news articles: “Relatives of a 20-month-old girl who police say was beaten to death by her mother’s 15-year-old boyfriend were growing concerned about how hard the toddler was being spanked but did not realize the punishment had become abusive. ” How could these people not realize that spanking a twenty-month-old baby hard was abusive?! [Quoted from http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny–toddlerkilled1124nov24,0,2084710.story%5D

    There is so much junk advertised on the radio, television, internet, billboards, and in magazines. We need to have public service announcements EVERYWHERE–including on buses, etc.–informing people that 1) hitting and harming babies and children in other ways is against the law, and can lead to severe injury and death; 2) that there are resources for learning how to parent properly, and to help those in our community who are struggling with parenting.

    Please, those of you who read this, ask your local radio stations to publicize this case as well as provide phone numbers and internet sites where people can go for help. Also, please publicize the case on your own internet sites (Facebook, Myspace, etc.). And if you can, please make donations, even small ones, to child abuse prevention organizations. And have the courage contact the authorities if you think a baby or child is being abused. You do not have to give your name. Keep an eye on those children in your communities. Make it known that you believe abusing children is NOT OK, so that those who do hurt children, or who are tempted to when they lose their tempers, will think twice and, we hope, turn to someone for help.

    I also am troubled that the 15-year-old boy, Anthony Weakfall, Jr., who sadistically beat Imani with metal objects for having a toilet training accident could be out of jail in 4 years, because he is a juvenile. What can be done about this? This is someone who must NEVER have children, or be around them. Is he going to get out in a few years, and then blend into society and do this again? How do we make sure this does not happen? People must follow the news stories about him, and watch where he goes, and inform communities wherever he goes of what he has done. It will take time and effort to do this, but if we don’t do this, think of what could happen again. I hope that the mother, Cherron Patterson, will stay in prison for the rest of her life.

    So please, when you are feeling sad and hopeless about what has happened to little Imani and to other children, please go a step further and take some kind of action, even a small one, to help rescue other children who could suffer the same plight.

    Web sites to go to for information about what can be done:



  2. Cyndi

    im sorry but what is this world coming to…..how can some one hurt some one so innocent she doesnt know……im sorry but if they really only give him 5 years then i know that the law inforcment doesnt care….this man should be tried as an adult he knew what he was doing im sorry but he is not stupid and you know what if the mother allowed it she should go to jail too….i mean how stupid can she be to let someone beat her own kid…and how can she do it her self……i think that they both should be in jail for life with no chance of parole…..im a mothe rof a 7 month old girl…and i swear if any one put their hands on my child i would go to jail for killing them…..thats is your own blood….well i have so many things to say that i dont want to take up the screen but i hope that our law inforcemnt grows a brain and puts them both to jail for life……..god bless your little soul imani your are in a better place god will take care of the way it should be…..and god bless the family that lost this beautiful little girl


  3. I think that anthony weakfall should get 15 years to life that is what he deserves. I think that he should get treated the same way that he treated imani when he beat her but new york has some very weak laws. If we as society want to change the laws regarding juveniles we should start here with the death of the innocence, imani
    arielle jennings. So people instead of blogging on the situation lets get out the pen and paper and get those signatures going so we can make a change. You know what they say it’s never to late


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