One of the reasons for this effort is to get the attention of the Black activists, as well as the Black politicians, the Black parents and others in the community to unite in a effort to stop the violence, instead of looking the other way, or just accepting it as a way of life in the ghetto, or urban areas.

To the credit of the Black community in Pittsburgh, more and more groups, organizations and individuals have stepped forward to bring attention to this national tragedy in the form of rallies, marches, forums, seminars, mentoring sessions to stop the violence.

It’s amazing how little value so many of our young males put on other Black lives, as well as their own. Frederick Douglas, Susan Sydney and Imani Porter were in their 20s, Hosea Davis 37, Cheralynn Sabatasso, 36, Jason Eubanks 36. All at the beginning of their adult lives or in the prime of their lives.

Most of these shootings are drug related, but that doesn’t take away from the tragedy of the deaths, as well as the fear and decay they bring to a community. Rashad Byrdsong says that it’s a mental illness and others are beginning to say the same. Yes it is. It’s called being ashamed of who you are as a Black male. It’s also the illness of placing a few dollars ahead of a human life.

Yes I know that millions of dollars worth of drugs are trafficked in this country every day, because we are the getting-highest country in the world. But only a small percentage of that money is actually coming through the Black communities, and hardly any of it is staying in the Black community. You say I’m wrong? Well, just look at the average Black urban community. Other than the expensive cars where is this money going?

Our communities are filled with blighted vacant lots, and abandoned boarded up houses. Now if we are making so much money off drugs that we have to kill each other in cities throughout this country, and make it dangerous to walk the streets in many cities, where is the money going? Whites, or Asians generally own the legitimate businesses in our communities, and most of us are renting.

Somehow, some way we have to be able to reach these young people to let them know that there are more ways to make money than slinging drugs. And if you are going to do it, look at it as a business. In a business you don’t have to kill your competition. That life is precious, and that we as Black people have fought far too hard for our basic rights to give it all up by gunning each other down in the streets over a few dollars. Either way we lose. Either we are the victims, or we spend the bulk of our adult lives in jail for the killing, or we are looking over our shoulders worried about the person we just killed friends or family coming after us for pay back.

So hopefully 2014 will be a banner year in curtailing the Black on Black murders not only in the Pittsburgh area but also all over the country. We must come up with some kind of way to get through to our young males that there’s a better way of life than using and slinging drugs. It’s time we stop trying to solve our problems with our fist, knives or guns.  We should try using our brains for a change, because we are losing so much of our futures through drugs and violence.

I’m very glad to see so many groups, organizations and individuals taking on the challenge to stop the violence through rallies and marches but especially through mentoring our young people by exposing them to education, to careers beyond what they have been exposed to, such as the Gateway Medical Society and UPMC who are exposing young people to the medical field. Not just doctors and nursing but the wide range of careers available to them. The marches and rallies are good starts but the real solutions are our young people being exposed to the many possibilities available to them. But of course we have to make sure that they stay open by making sure Diversity and Affirmative Action continues to be a part of all companies, businesses corporations, institutions or anyone hiring. The bottom line is that we must teach our kids to be proud of who they are, that being Black is not something to be ashamed of, the morality of just how important life is, and the work ethic.

(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)

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