Ci­ti­zen ac­tion needed to stem vi­o­lence in our com­mu­ni­ties

Glenside News - - OPINION - A Place in His­tory

The an­gry winds of vi­o­lence that t hreaten many ur­ban ar­eas across the na­tion, in­clud­ing nearby Philadel­phia, have buf­feted with in­creas­ing fre­quency neigh­bor­ing subur­ban com­mu­ni­ties with gun­shot deaths be­ing doc­u­mented in Chel­tenham, Abing­ton and other town­ships.

And thank good­ness some res­i­dents, community lead­ers, politi­cians, po­lice and church lead­ers are be­gin­ning t o co­a­lesce in or­der to cur­tail the sense­less deaths through such pro­grams as the “Bridg­ing the Com­mu­ni­ties” forum that was mod­er­ated re­cently by the Rev. Miriam Bur­nett, pas­tor of New Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Wil­low Grove.

Bur­nett, also a med­i­cal doc­tor and hold­ing a mas­ter’s de­gree in pub­lic health, ac­cord­ing to her on­line bi­og­ra­phy at www.new­bethelwg.org, hosted the Aug. 13 pro­gram at the North Penn VFW Post 6T6 that fea­tured the likes of Abing­ton po­lice Chief Wil­liam Kell y, Up­per Dublin Deputy Chief Lee Ben­son and Abing­ton Town­ship Com­mis­sioner Wayne Luker. The pro­gram was re­port­edly or­ga­nized by the Bridg­ing the Com­mu­ni­ties Coali­tion, in­cor­po­rat­ing groups from Crest­mont and North Hills fol­low­ing a par­tic­u­larly vi­o­lent episode.

Ac­cord­ing to the Times Chron­i­cle ar­ti­cle writ­ten by re­porter Jar­reau Free­man for the Aug. 16-22 is­sue, Luker was adamant about the July 1T shoot­ing death of a Crest­mont res­i­dent, Wil­liam But­ler, not “de­stroy­ing” the community. A North Hills man has been charged with the shoot­ing.

In fact, Luker and oth­ers have called for more community and recre­ational pro­grams, but ac­knowl­edged the dif­fi­cul­ties to fund­ing ini­tia­tives dur­ing these tough eco­nomic times. Al­ter­na­tively, as Luker in­sists, it is up to cit­i­zens to take ac­tion. I couldn’t agree with the com­mis­sioner more.

I’m ab­so­lutely con­vinced that in con­junc­tion with community sport­ing pro­grams and other ac­tiv­i­ties, it’s im­per­a­tive that youths and young adults are ex­posed to their eth­nic his­tory. For in­stance, many younger African Amer­i­cans could ex­plore their fam­ily roots and the ac­com­plish­ments of past gen­er­a­tions, sit­u­a­tions that are still too rarely ex­plored in our pub­lic, pri­vate and char­ter schools.

There’s no doubt in my mind that some­times low self­es­teem, based on the fool­ish mes­sages that black youths re­ceive from el­e­ments of the mass me­dia, play a sig­nif­i­cant role in black-on-black crime. Yet, we just can­not ex­clu­sively blame the devil­ish phe­nom­e­non on the tube, as old-timers some­times call tele­vi­sion. To be blunt, many of the prob­lems start right at home. Par­ents must take more re­spon­si­bil­ity, no mat­ter what, in de­mand­ing aca­demic ex­cel­lence and civic re­spon­si­bil­ity. I’m sure the good Rev­erend Bur­nett would also fo­cus on spir­i­tu­al­ity, with my to­tal agree­ment.

And par­ents must not be afraid to dis­cuss such top­ics as Amer­i­can slav­ery, the Jew- ish Holo­caust or the Ja­panese com­mit­ting geno­cide against the Chi­nese at cer­tain points in his­tory.

Sadly, as the right-wing state ap­pa­ra­tus con­tin­ues to cut funds to valu­able pro­grams and cause the pro­lif­er­a­tion of guns, while fed­eral ini­tia­tives are threat­ened by power-hold­ers in­tent on stop­ping Pres­i­dent Obama, we must all dig deep within in or­der to stop the vi­o­lence and up­lift our young folks.

And quite frankly, much of our ini­tia­tives should in­volve en­cour­ag­ing young vot­ers to get to the bal­lot box, de­spite the grow­ing state-spon­sored ob­sta­cles, and throw away the bullets in or­der to save lives.

Don “Og­be­wii” Scott, a Mel­rose Park res­i­dent, can be con­tacted at dscott9703@aol. com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.