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With nine homicides taking place in Allegheny County in the month of January, 2014 has started off more deadly than the year before. 2013, saw six homicides during in January, five of them Black individuals. Seven of this year’s nine were Black.

This epidemic of senseless violence is running rampant through our streets; innocent lives are being taken away, and families and communities are being left broken. Several of the names on this month’s list are proof of it. For instance, Hosea Davis, a man who just last year was labeled a hero when he saved a 16-year-old girl after she had been stabbed while visiting the Target store in East Liberty, was found in an alley with several gunshot wounds. Many at close range, while he was already down. Now, the murderer continues to walk the streets, and the community is left scared and worried.

Then there was Susan Sidney, a mother of five and with one on the way, who was shot multiple times while walking down a McKeesport street to a convenient store. Police think Sidney wasn’t even the intended target. Now, these five children are left without a mother and all because she was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

This violence needs to stop. Over the last several months the New Pittsburgh Courier has issued several challenges to the community to help put a stop to the spreading of this disease that is plaguing our neighborhoods, so here’s another. As we celebrate Black History Month this February, let’s honor the legacies of those men and women who fought for our freedoms, by putting down the guns, coming together and working to rebuild the communities that they so selflessly fought for. How did we go from marching for the freedom to sit anywhere on a bus, to marching for the freedom for our children to be able to safely walk down the street?  We’re supposed to stand with our brothers and sisters, not shoot them.

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