LANSING – “Somebody Else’s Baby” is the stage play adaptation of the Diane Martin novel by the same title. This stage production reveals the demise of humanity and indicts a community whose silence has killed more children than bullets. This story is a disturbing and emotional diary of tragedy and fear. Tijani Khalan Owens (TKO) is a young Black male trying to survive the “war” that has erupted in the streets of Chicago. He represents every child who must live every day in fear—in a community that they call home. Tijani does not want to become a statistic—another victim—but fate puts him in a situation where he learns that some choices, good and bad, will have grave consequences. In the end, whatever the choice, lives will be changed, and we will be forced to take inventory of ourselves and of a growing problem, which plagues us all.
The violence that plagues the streets day in and day out cannot help but make one pause and wonder, “What is my role in all of this?” Such as when the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:10,) The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. How deep does the search for answers go, ~ “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
As parents, educators, authors, and simple concerned citizens, Dr. William and Diane Martin toiled with this dilemma daily. As a result, they have launched H.E.A.R.T.S. a 501(c) 3, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the violence within “our” communities. They believe that by bringing this story of everyday life to the stage perhaps they can begin to increase the public awareness of the choices that so many young people face. “Is this a new world, completely different from the loving place that so many of us remember?” The Martins have made a commitment to bring such important work to a local stage; this husband wife team feels that now is the time—amidst this season of such destruction. “Our babies are forced to make choices that affect them for their entire lifetime,” Diane Martin said. By bringing this play to the stage, they envision being able to reach beyond the borders of the neighborhood and speak to the world.
“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.” By McLeod Bethune