There are an unbelievable number of horrific incidents taking place in our communities across this nation. There are definitely too many occurring here where we live in Allegheny County. We make comparisons such as portraying these perpetrators as modern extensions of the KKK. A number of these people are the offspring of crack parents; they have no sense of right or wrong. I have heard and read where a great number of these misguided people state, “they have nothing to live for and jail nor death frightens them.” They carry guns and talk that tough guy talk and they do intimidate numbers of people, rightfully so.

However, I have spoken with a vast number of people who are former inmates and they tell me that the overwhelming majority of these would be tough guys change in jail. They state that once these people are bought to a sense of reality, that they will be there a long period of time or forever, they have second thoughts, but too frequently its too late.

When the question is asked are we failing our children, I don’t mean just our biological children. We must come to grips with the fact that those people that we refer to as those children, but by the grace of God could be calling us mother, father, granddad, etc. I am absolutely convinced that we as a people have failed and changed for the worst, and have become a major contributor to OUR CHILDREN’S wrongdoings.

What has happened to us as a people? Let those of us, who regularly attend church analyze our churches. Does the church make you feel good or does it inspire you to do good? Does the church of your choice teach you how to live or how to die? Do you understand the difference between living religiously and spiritually?

How many of us recall that period of time when we greeted each other as “brother and sister,” “Black is beautiful,” and “I am somebody?” What happened to us? How did we allow ourselves to be detoured? Have we the descendants of slaves become clones of the slave masters? Have we become selfish instead of selfless? Have we lost complete focus on who we are and whose we are?

We must never forget that growth and development of Black people lies in the hearts and minds of Black people. We can if we believe we can. All of us must never lose the understanding that we have the obligation to ensure that OUR CHILDREN develop a sense of self-esteem, thereby not having the need for any synthetic substance to make them feel good about themselves. The educational system’s priority must become educating OUR CHILDREN, but we must address and correct the multitude of problems that prevent the educators from doing their jobs.

Do you say to your children now that we no longer live in the hood, that they are better than the friends and neighbors they left behind? We paid our mortgage last month and the car note, took a vacation, but do we ever contribute to organizations that work with families who are not as fortunate as you? Do we even think about them, do we care? Have we become so insensitive that WE PRACTICE AND PREACH WE GOT OURS, LET THEM GET THEIRS?

I have asked a number of questions in this column, please take time and reflect upon them, if they don’t apply to you, do you know family members, church members, lodge members or co workers that it would apply to?

The violence that is occurring with such frequency in our families and communities did not just start; it has been going on for a number of years, but it has to be stopped. We—you and I—MUST ESCALATE OUR INVOLVEMENT WITH OUR YOUTH. The trillions of dollars being spent on incarceration and rehabilitation are not addressing those problems that threaten to devour our communities. We must work with our youth, PREVENTION is the answer.

Please remember Kingsley Association needs your financial help.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)

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