On a recent segment of Keeping It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton, a nationally-syndicated radio show where I serve as a co-host, a troubling yet complex question was posed to our audience: Are local communities doing enough to quell crime in our neighborhoods?
The immediate answer would be absolutely not. Last month in Chicago, for example, 84 people were shot within a three-day span. Sixteen of them died. They were all Black.
Urban violence has become a way of life for many residents in black communities across this country. Children walk home from school listening to the crackling of gunfire and parents are afraid to send their kids to the corner store for milk and bread.
The root causes for urban crime are many: Black boys growing up without fathers; single mothers working two jobs to make ends meet without enough time for quality parenting; educational disparity in struggling public schools, too few jobs and after-school programs for young Black men and women; too many guns on the streets; and a growing inner-city culture that glorifies thug life.
But I’ve come to the realization that, yes, local government and federal government should play a large role in helping to curb crime, but ultimately this is our problem, our responsibility and our mess to help clean up. We’re losing a generation of Black boys to senseless early death. How many more must die before we are inspire to take real and lasting action?