After Bryce Gowdy’s suicide, let’s elevate the conversation about poverty’s effects on youth | Commentary


Are you going to be OK, mom?

Shibbon Winelle said those were among the final words uttered by her son, Bryce Gowdy, before he left their motel room and stood in front of a freight train. Bryce, who was 17, died of suicide a week before the Deerfield Beach football star was due to start classes at Georgia Tech on a scholarship Jan. 6.

Bryce, his mom and his brothers were homeless again, and family members said he wrestled with his emotions while preparing to chase college dreams as his immediate family struggled on the front lines of poverty.


It would be hard to see the depth of Bryce’s torment judging by his Instagram account. All you’ll see on his page is the typical highlights from a talented, young athlete. Cool poses, trendy-looking clothes, and videos showcasing impressive football skills.

Young people are often guilty of presenting the world with an enhanced reality on social media.

I wonder how many people outside immediate family knew Bryce was homeless, like college recruiters, high school teachers and coaches, or even some of the fans who cheered for him.

I’m also wondering if we’re failing to have a meaningful conversation about poverty and its connection to the 73% increase in suicide attempts among black teenagers from 1991 to 2017 according to the journal Pediatrics.

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