I sat in this church and kept a watchful eye on my teenage daughter’s reaction as she attended the funeral services of a classmate. This young man, unoffending and innocent, was a victim of a vicious crime against our young people.
As I look around in this church, I can’t help but wonder where are the ministers of the Gospel, politicians, federal and state government, special task forces, district attorneys, mayors, and everyone who has stood on the sidelines and accepted this system, this way of life, this philosophy which produced these murders.
It is time to stop talking to the media and talking behind closed doors about the rising number of murders among our young people. The streets outside the church service were full of policemen to assure the safety of our young people. The church was overflowing with children of all ages in need of reassurance that they can have a future. Our district attorney talked to the Wall Street Journal about them. We must start talking to them and show them we care.
We must work passionately and unrelentingly for the future of our young people. God still has a way of wringing good out of evil. History has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive. The innocent blood may well serve as a redemptive force that will bring new light to this dark city. We must not lose faith in our young people today. We must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality. We must come together like a family community of the past. We must set aside caution for courage and demonstrate positive leadership.
We spend billions on incarceration and drug rehabilitation, and now our government has created a program to enable some kids in below-standard schools to go to private schools. What is to become of the kids left behind? What message are we sending? That only a few are worth saving?
Our young people have turned to the streets for guidance — fatherless households, single-parent households, and children being raised by parents who are still growing in wisdom themselves. Governments at the state and federal level must develop and install a system within our education process to include some type of guidance, counsel, leadership, monitoring and mentoring our young people of all ages to show and teach them the right way to accomplish the American Dream. To help our youth of today, we must awake the conscience of our leaders and our communities and start talking to our young people rather than talking about them.
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