- Faith & Family
In a three-day period beginning last Friday, there were six shootings in Miami’s Black community. When the dust had settled, two 16-year-old boys were dead. Miles away along the Las Vegas strip, another Black male in his mid-20s, after having an argument with another man, settled their differences by taking out a gun and killing his opponent. Two innocent victims that had wandered into their path also lost their lives — just another example of “collateral damage.”
This is the new reality in far too many Black communities from Miami’s Liberty City and Brownsville to Chicago’s dangerous Southside. But before we start pointing fingers, claiming that “the man” has somehow initiated a new conspiracy to destroy the Black man, the Black family and the Black community, let’s look at the facts. Those who are pulling the triggers, driving past homes and opening fire or engaging in shootouts on public streets as if they were back in the Wild, Wild West are Black youth. The killers look like us. In fact, we know the killers. They live in our homes, eat at our tables and sleep next to us. They are our sons, daughters, husbands, lovers, longtime friends and road-dogs.
Those who are financially able have either run for the hills or are planning to very soon. They have left their humble beginnings for gated communities and 24-hour alarm systems. Who can blame them?
But many other Blacks have no choice but to remain — praying for themselves and for their children each day as they head to work, school, church or play.
Have we lost an entire generation? Not yet, but we are dangerously approaching that point. What we don’t need are more press conferences held by glory-seeking politicians and preachers. After all, gang-bangers and cold-blooded murders don’t tend to sit down to watch the evening news. It’s time to stop preaching to the choir and take our demands for peace into the streets and into the hood.
If we really want to end the violence, it will take sacrifice. Locking up young men won’t stop the carnage. Somehow, we must communicate to them that we will no longer tolerate the madness. Somehow we must show them that their lives have value.