Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sins of the Father, Part 2: Why We Have to Act Now

Monday, September 28, 2009

I wish that I hadn’t watched the Derrion Albert video.

I really wished I hadn’t. It broke my heart and sickened my stomach simultaneously.

But, then again, I feel like God has called many of us to watch it, remember it, and burn it into our memories forever.

And then ask how the brutal beatings of two young Black men from Chicago can come for two different reasons but maybe, just maybe, their deaths could symbolize two different movements that will usher in change.

It is going on 50 years since the death of Emmett Till. The beating of this Chicago youth in 1955 was senseless, brutal, and tragic. The kidnapping and torture of this teenager symbolized the brutality and insanity that was SDT (Southern Domestic Terrorism) during the heyday of Jim Crow. To her credit, the late Mrs. Till forced America (and the world) to take a good look at what we yielded and tolerated in America. To her credit, it forced American (and the world) to look at the real-time effects of racial hatred and the consequences of tolerance and inactivity.

What Mrs. Till gave us in 1955, we receive via the Internet in 2009. Now, the vivid death of Derrion Albert – an honors student from the South Side of Chicago – gives us a chance to see the consequences of our inactivity and tolerance towards the continued destruction of our cities and urban residents due to drugs, crime, and lack of education. We get to see what continues to occur because of our underfunded efforts to fix our communities; (and no, it’s more than money from the government – it’s about underfunding of resources: time, materials, community members giving back, personal accountability from each of us to change this epidemic in our communities, etc.)

For young people, we get to see the horrible consequences of being in the wrong place and the wrong time – or of letting your guard down for one moment in a moment of crisis.

The question now comes: what do WE do about it? Are we going to rally as we did during the Civil Rights Movement after the Emmett Till murder and ensure that we can remove this latest scourge from the face of the earth? Do we protest and not stop until we get those changes, just as we did during the 1950s and 1960s, even as the murders of Emmett Till were not convicted of their crimes? Whereas a moment in time (or a series of moments, if you will) got us to protest, march, demand, and challenge in court, what have the continued senseless deaths prompted this generation to do?

When are we as Americans going to address the violence in our cities to a point where we end this reign of Black Urban Terrorism (BUT), just as we did with SDT? (Indeed, some could say that we need to deal with the BUT of the problem in our communities…) I know that my “Festive 40-Day Fast for the Future” (http://lennymcallister.com/news.php?item=97) was a step, but apparently not enough of a step to prevent something like this from happening. With the amount of rage and violence found in our communities must be a superior level of commitment, love, and wisdom to overcome this plague.

The sins of our fathers are yielding rotten fruit, folks. There is no other choice: We Have to Act Now.

Folks -

Stop waiting for teenagers and misguided youth to turn things around themselves. Stop blaming the misguided and the victims of this generation for its current conditions without engaging this generation towards the solutions. Stop thinking that it's someone else's problems or someone else's children. It's not. They're ours. It's enough. And it's now that we are going to step up.

Not have to step up. Will step up.

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