March for Our Lives
As I reflect upon the March For Our Lives marches going on around the US and the world today, I can’t help but think of the many young people I grew up with in South Central Los Angeles who lost their lives - too soon- due to gun violence. I know whole families who have lost an entire generation of young people in their family because of gun violence. Gun violence is not new in communities of color. Not addressing the realities of the cause of such violence and the resultant heavy death toll because of it in communities of color is a reality too many- including myself- have accepted and tried to deal with for too many years.
Today marks a new phase in the movement for improved life chances for our next generation. It is an opportunity to clearly reflect on the profound tragedy that has befallen many communities across the U.S. and the world due to proliferation of semiautomatic weapons and those weapons getting into the hands of individuals with cryptic grievances who take them out on the unarmed and vulnerable.
According to the National Safety Council, these are some important statistics we need to know about gun violence in America:
On Average, 96 Americans are killed with guns each day
There are nearly 13,000 gun homicides a year in the U.S.
Black men are 13 times more likely than non-hispanic white men to be shot and killed with guns.
Although Black Americans make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, they are are victims of more than half of all gun homicides in this country.
This is a crisis! This is an epidemic!
No other industrialized country in the world allows this epidemic of death and great loss to flourish in their society as the U.S. does.
We must do much more than talk about this epidemic of violence that has been a huge part of the American lexicon for too many years. We must address the underlying issues this epidemic has allowed to flourish for so long and the concomitant effects it has wrecked on all of us- PTD suffered by too many of our citizens in communities where the members are no safe just walking down their street or even into their own yard; the children who cannot play outdoors due to the imminent danger to them; The adults who wake each day wondering who will be a statistic to this horrible epidemic that day; the young men or women who fear going to school for fear an errant gunman will enter to kill them; the teachers who cannot teach the things they need to because they are dealing with the psychological needs of their students who languish in the atmosphere of this epidemic.
How can we begin to address the epidemic of gun violence? Our young people are the answer. Those of us who have failed them in the past must support their efforts to take bold moves to change the conditions which exist to allow gun violence to continue to grow. They have been on the receiving end of this epidemic for too long. Too many of them have been lost senselessly. They have the smarts, strength, the social and political will and the dogged determination to call out and identify the causes and the solutions our society needs. They are ready to take the reins of leadership.
After all, it has been prophesized that “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11: 6
No more thoughts and prayers only.
No More B.S.!