The gang summit held this past weekend at Reverend James Meeks' House of Hope church was a failure. The right people didn't come. The Summit was patterned after one held years ago hosted by Rev. Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis Farrakhan. The Tribune quoted, Mr. Robert White, an ex-gang member as saying, and "How you addressing a gang summit and no gang members are here?" Good question. The gang summit was billed as a "National Unit Summit." The crime question will not be solved acting like a concert on tour.
Why did the summit fail?
First of all outsiders are not going to come to Chicago and solve our crime issue. I don't care who they are. The gang situation, the kids killing kids; the crime problem will be solved and resolved by locals exclusively. Downtown powerhouses and suburban do-gooders do not have the solution. Local input, local yokels have to step forth.
We the people, who live in the neighborhoods, who have the children, who attend the churches, who teach the children, have to step up. Why? Because we know. We know the culture, we know the children, we know what it was, we know what it should be, and we know what needs to be done.
Last weekend's summit consisted of people who had lost love ones. They are entirely too traumatized to find solutions. They grieve and should be at the table, but there is another presence to be had. It is an impossible thought to think of your child being shot at the playground, on the bus, walking to school, in front of grandmother's house and the like.
We are teaching our children to live defensively to stay alive. Children should be able to play and walk to school without fear. We are becoming immune to the crime reports. The news reports provide scoreboard reporting, like there is a scorecard.
We the people need to demand more from these lazy-ass politicians with their great theories. We need to get up and do what we know to do. Teach the kids. The kids need meaningful jobs, the kids need sports, the kids need cultural programs, and the kids need constructive activity to occupy them. When you kill our schools, you softly kill our children.
The Reverend Gregory Tatum, from Los Angeles and The Reverend Al Sharpton from New York, I am sure have good intentions, but they will not lead in Chicago. For anyone at any level to come to town, with a summit and not include Father Michael Pfleger in the planning process is probably doomed for failure. Why? Because he has been on top of this issue for some time, fighting the crime, seeking the solution and resolution. He has also buried far too much of his share of young funerals and grieving love ones.
The crime rate is doing down
The police cannot continue to tell us as the crime rate is reported is going down. As the summit was being held, there were 10 shootings. As the statistics were reported in a decline mode, 13 kids were shot at the playground. Something is wrong with the picture. We are a city divided. We are a city of the haves and the have-nots. We are a city of those remembered and those forgotten. All children count. All children should be able to go to school in safety and play in the playground. I weep when I see the three-year-old shot in the face. What the hell? I am of the opinion you need to bring in the National Guard to stabilize the communities, just like what is done in war zones. When the mayor says the crime rate is going down, he needs to be challenged. It didn't go down in the Back of the Yards playground. It didn't go down for the 3-year-old shot in the face.
I am moving toward planning a town hall meeting not only to discuss but also to resolve this youth violence. And I want it to be lead by mothers and women who care. We the people need to stand up, with solutions and suggestions.
Let's stop playing. Leadership is missing, in and out of town.