04/22/2014 05:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

To Chicago With Love


I am a black man and I have grown tired -- wait, make that utterly disgusted with the constant reports -- I see in the news each day about other black men both young and old who really don't amount to anything. My routine is the same pretty much every morning I wake up. Part of that routine is reading the daily papers so that I can have an idea on what is happening in the world. Like times before Monday morning, April 21st, 2014, often times the news is not always good but I sat in my bed reading the morning papers and the news out of Chicago was just devastating. One headline read, "Eight dead, more than 40 injured in Easter Weekend Violence." The more I read, the more upset I became. Am I alone or is that supposed to be your natural reaction? I think it touches me the way that it does for a number of reasons. I have lived in that city. I came into adulthood in that city. I have family and friends still living in that city. The City of Chicago without a doubt would be my first love. That city has given me so much and it pains me to watch the turmoil and unrest brewing in our very own country. What can we all do to change this?

I'm even more tired of the critics who have nothing but negative things to say about the city. For instance I have always hated the term "Chiraq." Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel during a press conference called for the people in the certain crime-infested neighborhoods to take a stand for themselves. In some ways I totally agree and then I think about how much more should and can be done. Of course I believe that the residents should rise up against the people committing the crimes. I can guarantee you that more than one person in the neighborhood knows the people standing behind the trigger of a gun. I want the innocent residents who have to leave their homes everyday in order to get to work or school to think about the children in the neighborhoods. Think about the innocent babies being shot for simply playing at the park or walking home from the store and their lives cut short because the bullet that hit them was intended for someone else. Where are the parents of these children that along should spark some outrage and drive communities to report the offenders? We have to get away from this "I can't be a snitch policy." The children who are stripped of their innocence deserve it.

I understand now that the Feds have been brought in to help out with the violence in the city. I also understand that a new violent crimes unit has been put together in order to handle the problem. The problem is gangs or people pretending to be something so big, bad, and powerful that they have sparked fear into the neighborhoods. What happen to the days when the police academy trained up people within the neighborhood to be productive members of society? How about bringing down those gangs from the inside? Surely there are capable people within the neighborhoods that can go undercover and build a solid case against the violent offenders. My method would be to take them down one by one and I would make sure that the gangs I'm coming after understood who was in charge.

The City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department are clearly in over their heads. When did it get this bad? How did it get this bad? More importantly, do the officials really care about the problem? I have listened to a lot of people give their thoughts on why things are happening the way that they are. One television host in particular, Bill O'Reilly is always quick to point out that the dissolution of the black family, poor neighborhoods, and lack of education are factors in what is happening with the violence in Black America. While I don't totally disagree with his statements, I do have some statements of my own. I come from a single-parent household, I went to school, received a great education. I then went on to college and from there entered the professional workforce. I did all of this because I knew that I wanted to better life. I knew that running the streets was not something I wanted to do and I knew that in order to have the best in life an easy, quick fix come up would not be the answer. I haven't once thought that I needed to be in a gang or commit crimes in order to have the best things in life. Maybe the people in the gangs haven't been shown there is a better way to the finer things.

For me what this boils down to is people have to see that there is more to life than what is in front of them. Community leaders have to get out and show that the easy way to a come up isn't always the best way. I want Chicago to be the thriving city I remember it to be. I want people to talk about Chicago with me and not let the first question be, "Is it really a bad place to live." I want the city I hold so dear to shed all of the negativity that has been associated with it and breathe new life into a city where people enjoy living again. Most of all, I want the people of the city to understand that they can help curb the violence. All it takes is stepping up and speaking out. The lives of your children depend on it. The future of city depends on it. I want everyone to forget the "snitch" and "rat" mentality and start thinking about your future with little to no crime and begin to see a life where your children can play safely. We must get a grip on this problem before the problem becomes so big that there is nothing left to do.