Saturday, September 29, 2012

Minister Farrakhan to Black Youth: Stop the killing!

In a prior post, I reported the on the Brookings Institute Report regarding the five keys to transitioning from poverty to middle-class:

The formula to being middle-class in America: 

(1) graduate from high school;
(2) don't have children until after you get married; 
(3) don't do anything that will land you in jail; 
(4) don't acquire a drug habit; and 
(5) have a decent work ethic. Americans who are chronically poor typically flunk three or more of these indicators.

With crisis like levels of black-on-black killings in Urban America, USA, another key should be added: 

Avoid gun violence. 

Take for example Chicago:

Chicago is facing a surge in its homicide rate. The Daily pointed out in a Friday column that more Chicago residents -- 228 -- have been killed so far this year in the city than the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan - 144 -- over the same period.
The war zone-like statistics are not new. As WBEZ reports, while some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than 5,000 people have been killed by gun fire in Chicago during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data.  source
Or Philly:
Yellow crime scene tape, evidence markers and dead bodies wrapped in sheets are constants in some of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods — where families look for ways to escape and many children grow up believing their days are numbered. With the city in the middle of its deadliest year since 2007 — the murder rate is up 23 percent over this time last year  source
And I could go on and on -- Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, New York, Baltimore, Washington, DC. However, to date, the collective black community outrage is nothing more than a whisper: In stark contrast to the wave of (justifiable) outrage directed against George Zimmerman for hunting and killing Trayvon Martin; and against the Stanford, Florida police force for its sloppy and negligent investigation . 

But for some inexplicable reason, Ray-Ray shooting Amir barely registers on the outrage meter: no Jesse Jacksons, no New Black Panthers, no Al Sharptons, no Michael Baisdens, no Tavis Smiley, no Cornell Wests, no President Obama press conference; no black radio hot topic discussion -- and it barely gets cover in local media as well.

Controversial or not; leader or demagogue, Minister Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam has publicly chastised the black community for not stepping up to the plate:

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke out against the Black community’s problem with gun violence during a trip to New York this week and called upon African-Americans to take the fate of their communities into their own hands.

"You are looking for change to come, but change will not come out of the sky," Farrakhan told a crowd in Harlem, according to DNAinfo. "You are the agent of change.”

Farrakhan, 79, was referencing the recent spate of gun violence that has rocked Black communities in New York and Chicago and that has left scores of young people dead.  Farrakhan also visited Brooklyn during his whistle-stop gun violence tour and spoke in front of a housing project in Brownsville, where shootings are an all too common occurrence.

“They are building prisons, and who are they for? Not for the white man,” he told a crowd at the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn, the New York Daily News reports. “Nobody cares about you. You are the product of your former slave masters. You are not as bad as you are acting.”

Gun violence in the notorious Brooklyn neighborhood has claimed the lives of 80 people since the beginning of the year, and Farrakhan isn’t the only activist to take note. Earlier this month, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Occupy the Corners initiative brought the organization’s members out to various communities in New York, including Brownsville, to engage residents on safety issues.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it will allocate $600,000 to fund a program that will work to decrease violence in Brownsville and 14 other U.S. cities.

Farrakhan couched his message of self-reliance, within his trademark sentiment regarding what he sees as a conspiracy to keep African-Americans in violent communities and ensnared in the criminal justice system.

“You ain’t manufacturing no guns, but you got some,” he said. “Your people are being herded into a lifestyle — that is going to jail.source

Agree or disagree with Farrakhan's philosophy or methodology aside: What are you going to do?

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