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The “wait and see” attitude in Detroit is like a cancer eating deep at the fabric of this city’s future. While children are dying we are walking like mannequins in a city filled with egotistical and selfish leadership that only comes to the forefront if there is “something in it for me.”
In the next 90 days we should all come up with a plan for changing Detroit. Let churches and institutions that brand themselves as the bedrock of this community show us what concrete programs they have to offer young people. Show them there is another side to life.
In fact, every church in this community, some located in drug-infested neighborhoods, should set up a task force to fight violence, with the church taking the lead in protecting those neighborhoods and the children. The church should be offering concrete resolution classes to its young people to avert them from taking up guns as the answer to their issues.
If you care about a particular neighborhood enough to erect a beautiful edifice of worship, then work to get rid of the vices in that neighborhood that are ruining or eliminating the lives of our children.
Let’s come up with a blueprint for tackling the underlying issues that breed violence, that all too often ends in death.
The city alone should not be in the front line of dealing with joblessness. It’s a collective responsibility and those who are invested in this city are duty-bound to address this serious economic issue if we want to see a Detroit where young people are meaningfully engaged and violence has become a thing of the past.
To our groups and organizations, leverage the resources you have to engage our young people in a more productive way. That way those young people seeking relevance don’t attempt it by committing heinous crimes but by enrolling in a conflict resolution program, a mentoring or after-school program that harnesses their talents.
Let’s help these young men who are trapped in the scourge of violence and have been badly influenced and told their manhood is determined by how many people they can hurt or kill find a focus in life.
We cannot be making long speeches from one press conference to another.
There is no excuse for Detroit being in the condition it is in.
Nevertheless, there has been some good news of late. The rebound of the auto industry, among other things, is placing a searchlight on Detroit. The city must not allow its light to be dimmed.
The state of affairs in the city is reading like a “Cry Detroit” movie where reticence, self-centeredness, inaction and apathy are what greets the cold-blooded murders taking place in the streets of Detroit.
Avondre Donel could have been the next mayor of Detroit.
Jarean Blake may have been the next leader of the Detroit Public Schools.
Aiyana Jones could have become a doctor or lawyer.
Children everywhere have potential no matter the kind of upbringing they have. History has shown that often children from disadvantaged and struggling backgrounds end up becoming the greatest transformers of change in the world.
We have no clue regarding the potential of these three children and the others before them that were killed.
But now these children have to be unfairly immortalized as three more faces representing violent crime in Detroit. It is a tragedy and a disgrace.
We can, and must, do better — starting right now.
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