President Obama is coming back to town next week for a birthday party. Unfortunately, there have been too many families in this city gathering for funerals instead of celebrations. In the past two months, we have lost three Chicago police officers to the same violence they worked to keep the public safe from. But still no action plan from the White House.
Two months ago, I wrote about this issue and that blog was featured in a local news report. However, I am starting to learn that the pen is not always mightier than the sword. Money talks and everything else seems to be walking around our neighborhoods asking for votes. And I am not saying that we should depend on anybody but ourselves to change this problem. Yet there is an issue of us doing more work than our politicians.
We can mediate verbal conflicts before they turn violent, but it is the responsibility of government agencies like the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to provide information about how these guns are getting into our communities. The last time I checked, there weren't a lot of shootings in ritzy Chicago suburbs like Highland Park, Winnetka, or Naperville. Most of the shootings occur in low income neighborhoods. It seems like you need money to keep guns away from your community.
It would be nice if those poor residents (like myself) could afford a ticket to the DNC fundraiser in Chicago that the President is attending. Sure, he wouldn't have time to entertain any of those matters because he is President of "the United States of America" and not "poor folks in Chicago." But for some reason, poor folks in Chicago don't feel so American anymore. People don't see that our issue is an American issue. They see it is as something that only affects them if "those people" show up at a popular food festival (known by some as "The Taste of Chicago") and start a commotion.
Whether anyone agrees with me or not, I'm going to keep waiting by my window until Mr. President sees me as an American citizen and not a black guy from Chicago trying to get media attention. (That's probably why his administration keeps ignoring me.)
Folks have criticized me for being an opportunist, but that couldn't be any further from the truth. I've even had my closest friends and family passionately disagree with me about this issue. They say, "Zack, we must hold (Chicago) Mayor Daley accountable!" or "These thugs don't even know who Obama is." While I disagree with my friend's assumptions of the political savvy of street thugs, I understand their viewpoints.
But I'm going to stand for what's right--even if I have to stand alone sometimes.
And I don't want to hear from Robert Gibbs, the President's press secretary. If we have time for Beer Summits and banter about Shirley Sherrod, we have time for the kids in Chicago who might not make it back to their first day of school.
I'm not asking the White House to do our job for us; I'm asking the folks in the White House to do their job for us.