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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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