THE BLOG
11/23/2016 08:38 am ET

As The World Worries About "Isis" And Rightfully So, But

ISIS is responsible for taking dozens of lives at a time, and these attacks certainly warrant regular media attention. What I don't understand is why violence that affects so many communities in America does not warrant the same priority? What constitutes a certain level of priority when in both instances innocent lives are lost, even children? In July 2003 I decided to make the youth in my community a "priority" by opening my home to them seeking to get out of the gang, go back to school, homeless youth or youth seeking a safe space. It's one of the best decisions of my life, so many wanting to escape the violence, change their lives, or just need someone in their community who cares.

It's been 13 years now and over 3,000 youth impacted, I wonder as I did in the beginning, why are youth in economically deprived environments neglected/expendable and perceived to be the cause of their own demise.

To me they are worthy of the same concern, considering they didn't create this environment. It is well documented about the poverty, incarceration and violence that they face everyday.

I realize that I can be a bit naïve and prejudice about the youth I serve, but when you have a 13 year old come to you and ask can you help him change his life, I think it's justified. What I am sure of is children/teens should be able to hope and dream, given the tools to be successful, and it should be given equally. Quality schools, a fair footing if you will, should not be an option afforded only to some, but available to all. All of this is not for you to feel sorry for them, but understand they deserve to be a priority as with anything (violence) threatening the sanctity of life in this nation. I am but one person; one voice that believes that "hope" should be available to everyone. When you cry out to society for a chance to live with dignity and decency and the world ignores you, what does that say about humanity as a whole?

What more can we do as a nation to address its children, those growing up to believe this is their reality and the cavalry is not coming. When will they become a priority, a first thought, and a worthy fight for liberty, life and the happiness that is promised to everyone in our constitution? Who will do it, if not us, then who?

When I was named a Top 10 L'Oréal Paris "Woman Of Worth", I became so excited, so filled with hope and possibility! To be chosen with 9 amazing women, changing the world around them and those they served was to say the least, truly inspiring. I am honored and humbled to apart of it all!

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