|Posted by projectreachinc on July 19, 2014 at 5:40 PM|
Poverty and Desperation is the leading cause of - Drugs - Crime - Gangs and Violence; along with far to many leaders that use their positions for self serving purpose. Organized meetings, mentoring and true leadership is the key to making positive and ongoing changes.
Reducing violence and violent-related deaths of young black men and boys can not be left in the hands of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. As church, law enforcement, political leaders and others are now speaking and meeting on crime and violence as it relates to young black men and boys, it must be real!
If leaders really mean what they are saying or meeting on, action must be in the forefront of the overall objectives, including having young people at the table and involved in the decision making process. In as much as over the years, many meetings and studies have taken place, with little or no positive actions or resolve; Furthermore, in making changes to modern day genocide of young blacks, Hispanics and poor; addressing poverty must be the number one priority, including addressing the war on drugs, racism and disparities in order to bring positive and lasting resolve.
Faith and community leaders need to signal a "Code Blue" as we continue facing an alarming amount of poverty in America. The side effects to poverty translates into desperation, gangs, drugs, early deaths and other social ills. If America improves the economy and opportunities for the at risk communities; crime will become more manageable for law enforcement and young lives will be saved and gangs, drugs and the prison industrial complex will decrease. A Black Man is Killed in the U.S. Every 28 Hours by Police - and 14 Black men killed every 24 Hours overall.
By leaving the economy as is, it does not matter how many drug dealers you take out or lock up, more will take their places. Poverty is the boogieman that politicians and other mainstream leaders avoid addressing, further concealing the social ills that lends itself to racial disparities, higher taxes and community blight. Poverty continue to grow across the United States at an alarming rate, with many communities being affected.
Over the last four decades, a number of studies on poverty, suggest that African Americans and Hispanics continue to be hit harder than most Americans and with continued racial disparities and high rates of poverty, theses communities will continue to fail and with a rising crime rate.
Run-down homes, apartment buildings and blighted neighborhoods, sometime located less than a square mile from downtown seems to be the norm for most urban communities. A short drive away from the impoverished areas, one can witness exclusive government buildings, mega stadiums, arenas, churches and other buildings with beautiful landscapes. However, within the impoverished communities, you can find blight, gangs, ex-offenders, drug dealers, prostitutes, school dropouts, unemployed or underemployed, homeless, and individuals with mental illness and drug addictions.
In visiting at-risk communities, some of the locals will take the time to discuss social and economic concerns/needs or woes as it relates to their neighborhoods and communities. Some of the stories are horrific, including stories about their conditions and their long struggles to shake their daily atrocities. Older individuals, suggest that their local leaders have forgotten about them, or care more about money, perceived power and politics than the poor and disenfranchised. On the other hand, younger people suggest their major concerns are; violence, gangs, drugs, unemployment, underemployment and distrust of law enforcement and some community leaders.
Faith, political and community leaders can play a vital role by reflecting back to the sixties and the "Poor People's Campaign" and the "Sullivan Plan".
The Poor People's Campaign was a 1968 effort to gain economic justice for poor people in the United States. It was organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Campaign demanded economic and human rights for poor Americans of diverse background. After presenting an organized set of demands to Congress and executive agencies, participants set up a 3000-person tent city on the Washington Mall, where they stayed for six weeks.
The Poor People's Campaign was motivated by a desire for economic justice; the idea that all people should have what they need to live. King and the SCLC shifted their focus to these issues after observing that gains in civil rights had not improved the material conditions of life for many African Americans. The Poor People's Campaign was a multiracial effort aimed at alleviating poverty regardless of race and the Poor People's Campaign is needed NOW.
Sullivan's work was built on the principle of "self-help", which provides people with the tools to help themselves overcome barriers of poverty and oppression. African Americans had been excluded from the types of training which led to better paying jobs. Sullivan realized that simply making jobs available was not enough. He said, "I found that we needed training". Integration without preparation is frustration.
In 1964, Sullivan founded Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America in an abandoned jail house in North Philadelphia. The program took individuals with little hope and few prospects and offered them job training and instruction in life skills and then helped place them into jobs. The movement quickly spread around the nation. With sixty affiliated programs in thirty states and the District of Columbia, OIC grew into a movement, which has served million of disadvantaged and under-skilled people. This approach also led to the formation of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OICI) in 1969. Around the same time, Sullivan established the Zion Investment Association (ZIA), a company which invested in and started new businesses.
We must act now and invest in the future and lives of our children!
"At no time do we condone wrongness on either side of the wall"