Will gang violence destroy our community?

caines | 6/21/2012, 6 a.m.

Its strange to think that law enforcement officials cite youth violence gangs to be exact as the reason why Black-on-Black crime is escalating and spiraling out of control. We say strange because in years past, while boys would be boys, they were never controlling our communities and putting families in fear. Of course, in those days, men were the heads of their homes. Hard-working men were seen with regularity at their childrens schools and sporting events, at the local barber shop, at church and at the park on Sunday afternoons. Times have changed and men who are positive role models and active in the lives of their children and their community, just dont seem to be as numerous, or as vocal and involved as they once were. Part of the problem is because boys are becoming dads much younger and have little interest in maintaining a relationship with their children. Thats why gangs have become so attractive to many of our young males they provide a family structure and male companionship. Gang leaders become their fathers. But what if we reclaimed the lost boys of our neighborhoods? What if we started talking to young brothers who are standing on our street corners, often involved in illicit activities? What if we reopened some of the gyms and swimming pools so that young people had something fun and wholesome to do? What if our churches adopted the troubled youth of our community? What if we stopped giving up so easily and letting the prison industrial complex take possession of our wayward children? What if we showed those who have never felt love that we care about them? We need real men, strong men, determined men, to take to the streets once more and a few women too. But in the end, it will be the men whose actions on the frontline will determine whether we can save an entire generation and therefore save ourselves.