Last week in Chicago, 11-year-old Shamiya Goodloe was shot and killed by a stray bullet that broke through the window of the first-floor bedroom of a friend’s house.
“A great-grandmother should not have to bury their great-grandchild,” Shamiya’s great-grandmother Lourene Miller told reporters. “This is some pain I can’t even explain; it hurts so bad.”
While federal officials are sending more agents to Chicago to help the police department fight the escalating violence, a Florida barbershop owner, in his own small way, is trying to effect change. He’s using books to help quell violence in his community where the high school graduation rate is reportedly just 50 percent.
Reggie Ross, the owner of Royal Touch Barbershop in Palm Beach County, Florida is asking his young customers to read one of the books he offers while they wait to get their haircut. He also tells them they are welcome to read the books aloud to generate discussion.
“I’m very selective about the books here,” the 35-year-old shop owner told the Times. “We emphasize culture and broadening their horizons—books that are going to help them to get ahead in life.”
Ross, an innovator, is taking the lead in his community, and frankly, his initiative should be a model for other black barbershops –and recreation centers – in black communities across the country. Kids can watch a movie or listen to music in Ross’ shop, but only if they can provide the definition of an assigned vocabulary word first.
This is the kind of leadership that is critical for our communities – and it resonates with me.
When I was a boy growing up in Detroit, in addition to my assigned schoolwork, my father would drop me off at the library and tell me to find a book, read it, and write a book report about it just for him. I would write the book report and we’d sit at the dining room table and discuss it.
I’m still writing today.
According to the South Florida Times, Ross started this initiative at his barber shop to dispel the negative stereotype that black men don’t read.
“The barbershop is based on men coming together grooming each other to become better men, and I think books and education is a fundamental part of that,” Ross told reporters. “I tell them the reason they fight is because they don’t have enough words [to express themselves]. If you talk to some of these kids, they’re some of the brightest kids that ever lived. Some of them are just not exposed to much.”
God bless Ross. It may seem like a small thing to some, but it’s part of the kind of community engagement we need to have with our young people. We should consider following his example.
What do you think?
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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