By Randle Loeb on Sep 28, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
Nathaniel Anthony Ayers' mother treasured him and languished for him in his tormented veil of tears. She lavished him with attention and he responded with frightening and threatening gestures, such that she chased after him in an effort to come to his aid no matter what. She placed her own life at risk and died in part from fear and torment that she could not reach her son, her sweet and tragic hero.
There was no one else who loved Anthony or "Tony," as many referred to him than his mother. Mothers have this special place for their families that nourishes and sustains them as stewards in the most profound sense. Anthony would never have accomplished what he aspired to, which was to envelope himself in music if not for the stimulation and adulation of his mother. Unhappily a gene that has to do with synapses of the brain poisoned him and left him unable to comprehend the real world except in rare moment.
His music transcended the darkness and the losses and fulfilled him with a sense of his mother's passion and gifts for him and thus, the two connected in a deeper more resonant way than you or I usually are accustomed. Everyone in Anthony's family were good shepherds of their brother and yet they, nor anyone could protect him from the ravages of what is roiling in his mind and the effect of the world around Anthony that blew through him like a gale. Anthony loved and respected people and he asked for nothing in return but to listen.
Isn't this what all of us expect? There are lovers and stewards of the earth whose partners in this world have compassion and spirit to connect with the divine within. Anthony comes to be one of the most blessed of all beings because he has a gentleness and lack of ego that allows him to sit and look at the world as though everything is seen in a kaleidoscopic panorama from horizon to horizon, from moment to moment, and in every nuance of the shade and star light that impacts heaven.
We are fortunate for the blessings that we have of good health and a chance to live some where safe and warm. We are blessed to have peace and comfort from those who embrace us. We are grateful for the bards who sing us to sleep and whisper, "hush nothing is going to harm you, baby, nothing's going to harm my baby." In this refrain we see the promise of forgiveness and beauty that nourishes all kindred spirits and calls us to come home.
By helen on Sep 26, 2010 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
REPUBLICAN MANIFESTO: THE PARALYZING OF AMERICA
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
I am exhausted listening to people talking about their exhaustion defending the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. As I listened to the lady at the recent town hall meeting who said she was exhausted with trying to defend President Obama to others who are disenchanted, I became even more exhausted.
Not once did I hear her say that she was exhausted with the obstructionisms, the odious smears, innuendos and lies being told about our president. I also did not hear her say that she would do all she could to discourage the GOP from blocking and preventing most of the progressive, humane agenda that the president has laid out to benefit all of America’s citizens. What is so troubling to me is that Democrats are sitting back and allowing the tea party and the Republicans to dominate the conversation by perverting all the good the Obama Administration is doing. These detractors are deliberately twisting and distorting the truth. Their 24/7 attention to the constant repetition of lies has so numbed and confused the average person that they are accepting these lies as the truth.
I am exhausted listening to people criticizing and disrespecting our president.
I am exhausted listening to all the ranting and ravings of the tea partiers and ultra conservative Republicans, all designed to derail the Obama presidency.
I’m exhausted realizing how many stupid, non-thinking and easily manipulated people there are in the United States of America.
I’m exhausted witnessing how the American education system has deteriorated to the point that Americans are ready to embrace mediocrity, ignorance and prejudice. We have produced a nation of automatons and clones who are incapable of thinking and cannot make decisions that are in their own best interests.
I’m exhausted knowing that President Obama inherited the biggest and most chaotic and devastating situation ever to occur in American history.
On September 23, 2010, the Republicans came out with their manifesto which in essence will paralyze America. To return to the policies that put our country in the greatest financial crisis since the original Depression of 1929 is criminal. They openly admit that they will dismantle all the progressive programs advanced and passed by the Obama Administration.
Now if you want to see exhaustion, wait and do nothing and let the Republicans replay their scenario of man’s inhumanity to man, catering to the rich and powerful, decimating the middle class and totally dissolving the lower class until they become the underbelly of society.
Should the Democrats be negligent enough because of lack of fervor to allow a Republican takeover, then I want to hear that same lady who so eloquently dressed the President down for the millions of people all over the world to see and hear; I want her to speak out. Speak out if she has a voice left after bemoaning our country going to hell in a hand basket as they take us back to the conflagration that put us in the condition we are in now. Dante’s Inferno could be no worse.
You think you’ve got it bad now? Why? Is it because you are ungrateful for all this Administration has produced despite the obstreperousness of the right wingers? It will be worse than during the Bush Administration because we have not learned from history or psychology. Doing the same failed things over and over gets the same failed results.
It is time for Democrats to stop moaning and groaning and to knock on every door, open the white pages and call everyone in the telephone directory to save our country. We have a good team and it is getting better. We have made enormous strides and progress in less than two years. The jobs are coming and they will be created here in America to make products by Americans and for Americans so that we can all get above the flood waters that we have been drowning in because of the Bush years – eight to be exact. Painstakingly these were eight years of mismanagement, pandering to the rich and the elite, shipping our jobs overseas depriving American workers of the ability to sustain themselves, and running up overwhelming debt while borrowing money to fund two wars. We have destroyed lives and properties in two countries, simultaneously; and, now we are rebuilding what we have torn down. Our own infrastructure is outdated and seriously in need of repair or replacement. Let’s bring our money home to take care of home. We had an ill conceived education program which did nothing except further dumb down America’s children and turn them into drones for passing tests. It did not matter that they were not learning or gaining knowledge or being prepared as lifetime learners, as long as they could pass these arbitrary tests, they were passed along.
Is this what we want for our children, America? Is this what we want for ourselves? Haven’t we suffered enough, America? If you say yes, then do something about it. If you don’t have genuine enthusiasm, fake it until you make it. Don’t allow our country to become paralyzed again with ill prepared, ill informed tea partiers replacing knowledgeable, forward thinking Democrats. Let’s go forward! Let’s defeat the prognosticators! Let’s take our country back to the Clinton years, to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt years, to the good old days when a man and a woman who were willing to work were able to find a good paying job and then be able to circulate money within our country to stimulate our economy so we can again know the prosperity that wiser, humane Administrations created for us. This is our Democracy, let’s practice what is necessary to sustain a thriving Democracy by voting for the Democratic lawmen who really and truly practice, COUNTRY FIRST.
It is time to EXHAUST all your energies and your resources to keep the bums out! We don’t need witchcraft or voodoo economics, we don’t need to be paralyzed. We need a functioning, thriving Democracy where all of her citizens are given an equal opportunity to pursue life, liberty and happiness. This is what we owe ourselves. This is what we owe our children and their children and their children’s children.
This is America. We are Americans. Let’s start acting like Americans who have always heeded the call to treat the least of these as we would want to be treated ourselves. We are our brothers and sisters keepers. This is our manifest destiny!
By Randle Loeb on Sep 21, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
Denver's Road Home and Mile High United Way are seeking individuals and sponsors to help in making Project Homeless Connect 10 a success!
PHC10 will be hosted by Metropolitan State College of Denver on Friday, October 29, 2010 from 8 –noon.
The concept was started in San Francisco and modeled throughout the United States based on the basis of the Veteran’s Stand Down, which occurs on Veteran’s Day annually.
PHC-10 is a one-day event held twice a year in Denver. Homeless individuals and families from across the region, and those at risk of becoming homeless, are invited to come and access the following services: screenings for comprehensive medical attention, immunizations, identification and birth certificates, legal aid, employment, housing assistance, haircuts, clothing, food, foot washing, massage, dental hygiene, counseling, evaluation and referral for benefits acquisition, child care, community court, and an array of social services that are provided throughout the region are available in this one centralized point of entry.
We need 1,000 volunteers to help out with everything from pre-event set-up to offering services at the event on October 29. Our greatest need is for volunteers to commit to working 1-1 with clients to help them navigate through the venue and connect them with needed services (Client Support Services). This is an amazing opportunity to learn more about the root causes of homelessness and connect with a person in your community experiencing homelessness. While the event runs for clients from 8am-12pm, most volunteers will be asked to commit for 4-6 hours. Please read about all volunteer opportunities and to find one that is right for you. Volunteers will be required to attend a training prior to the event; you will select a training date when you register. All registration needs to be done online, but general questions about volunteering can be directed to Desta Taye-Channell at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to Metro State, participating sponsors include Denver's Road Home, Mile High United Way, Regis University, Community College of Denver, University of Colorado at Denver, Auraria Higher Education Center, and Anadarko.
Sponsorship opportunities are through Lisa Betchey at email@example.com.
This school year the liaisons who are counting those who are homeless based on the expanded Hearth Act, a federal statute assert that homeless families throughout the region of the Front Range and across America have grown by twenty percent. Organizations that work with homeless youth like Urban Peak are turning youth away and this is true for every community organization that daily opens their doors for the homeless. The estimates are that we will be unable to serve the most vulnerable diverse community this winter. On December 21, there is a national day of mourning and we read the names of those who have died on the steps of the City and County Building of Denver. We are looking at a surge in numbers of homeless families and related numbers of all populations of people who have no safe, stable and concrete way to protect themselves as the weather shifts to fall and winter.
Homeless Service providers are indicating that the numbers of those who are without a place have shifted to younger people who usually would not mix in the general food lines and day shelters. There is a waiting list for all direct services such as mental health, clinics, emergency rooms, release from all institutions, numbers who are increasing in ways that have not been evident in the nation’s history.
Regional planning has occurred because resources are scarce. It costs $100,000.00 in Aurora to voucher the people who need assistance for more than 150 days during the winter. Salvation Army will once again expand its emergency assistance and take in 130 single men from October to May, but that doesn’t begin to cover the gap. We call upon all religious organizations, who by right determined by federal law, can shelter people within the mission of their communities and to comply with the local ordinances of safety and provide a safe place for people from the time that emergency shelter are needed throughout this winter. We are asking for people to examine the need to declare a state of emergency and open their doors to the poor.
Shelters need to be sited in all communities with a dedicated central dispatch through the United Way to maintain up to the minute responses to assist in placing people in the areas where they’re living. We need 100's of faith groups to cover the needs of difficult and diverse populations. We need a partnership of staff from the day shelters to assist in helping to maintain the volunteer’s needs to staff these emergency shelters. We need the will of the neighborhood groups to welcome and embrace the most vulnerable citizens of their neighborhoods. In short, it will take a village to house a nation.
Project Homeless Connect - TEN will take place Friday morning October 29, and into the early afternoon at the Physical Education Building on Auraria Campus
Mile High United Way is over the 20th Street Bridge and I-25 on 18th Street at the corner of the intersection .
Wed. 10/20 MHUW 11:30 - 1 founder's rm
Mon. 10/25 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Sat. 10/23 10:30 - noon
Auraria Campus: Tivoli Student Union
Mon. 10/18 Tivoli Student Union: Rm 30 B - C Baerresen Ballroom
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Thurs. 10/21 A - C 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Tues. 10/26 B - C 11:30 - 1 p.m.
Wed. 10/27 rm. 640 Zenith
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. and until 3 p.m.
By Randle Loeb on Sep 11, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
timeless hearth and home for the heart
silently these stones, glass and sanctuary
Create a space for tears and laughter of community
A chorus of gratitude and solicitation.
It’s ribbon of understanding
For the compassionate sinner and the saint,
For the stranger and the wanderer,
For those who cross beyond this life
providing A merger of all sentient beings
coming here engaging in practice and nuances of prayer
and by presence and out stretched palms,
we’re remembering and letting go,
of the tumultuous din
and the strain of modern life.
early on wintry, blustery mornings,
heading out two shovels Slung over one’s shoulder,
one feels the urgency and the serenity that the gate will
Open and beckon us
Welcoming us home for good.
One need never despair that what you do is enough.
We're sustained even by many onslaughts,
and stood through
Ordeals with vigor and gladness in our hearts.
Always proclaim a jubilee for we know we belong here.
We know that truly we are all welcome and have a place.
We know that we will be remembered in the ever changing landscape
WE KNOW we are blessed by our footsteps up the worn and polished path.
Even here and now,
in these unfamiliar surroundings
we’re comforted and embraced.
By Randle Loeb on Sep 6, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
"A pox on all religions."
Christopher Hitchens is right when he says, "Our religious belief systems came out of Bronze Age," which tries making sense of the world.
Religions are no longer needed but certain leaders continue to use religions to hold large numbers of the world's population in slavery.
Some good can come out of religious activity but just as often, more evil is committed in the name of God. What could replace this belief system since science is in many ways as maniacal, and isn't the answer either.
In thinking about my religious upbringing,
"I would have been better off without being raised in a particular religious community."
There were helpful aspects to some of the teachings but I witnessed more enslavement and indoctrination, than the better parts of my religious experiences."
What is particularly devoid of moral value are teachings of anti-science principles where impressionable children are taught that the earth was formed 5000 years ago. Followed upon by the virulent strain of evil that, "Any sacred text carries the literal truth out of which people should live their lives. "This is the ultimate form of child abuse."
What we are required to do in this era is to be filled with compassion for people who live with troubled lives and lowly spirits.
By Randle Loeb on Sep 5, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
WHAT BOOKS SHOULD WE BURN NOW?
The Inquisition burned the Talmud.
Nazis, on May 10, 1933, burned thousands of books--among them the works of Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, André Gide , Maxim Gorki, George Grosz, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, and Helen Keller. And now we have amongst us in America some who call themselves Christians, who have called for burning the Quran, and who have chosen September 11 as the day to do so. The great German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote in his 1820-1821 play "Almansor": "Where they burn books, they will finally also burn people."
What to do?
Some religious folk have urged that gatherings on September 11 read together from the Quran, Torah and Talmud, and the Christian Gospels. September 11 is Shabbat Shuvah – the special Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when Jews focus even more deeply in turning themselves toward God and to changing their lives toward compassion
and reconciliation with other people. Rabbi Phyllis Berman has suggested that in synagogues, there be added to the regular readings of that day a passage from the Quran. (See below for suggested passages.) The Shalom Center also suggests that people gather on September 12 in a public place that honors religious freedom and celebrates American diversity – "E Pluribus Unum, "From the Many, One" as the Great Seal of the United States proclaims. Such places might be near the Liberty Bell – "Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land to All the Inhabitants Thereof"; or a local Holocaust Museum or Anne Frank Memorial Center; or memorials to the dead of World War II, in honor of their fighting to protect freedom from those who burned both books and people; or similar sites. There Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahais,
Wiccans, Native American animists might join together in reading the Quran, the Torah and Talmud, the Christian Gospels, and the sacred texts of other traditions.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 12 (time for those who are in church that morning, as well as those who enjoy sleeping late that day, to assemble). Read Quran passages at 2 pm Sunday, September 12. Since many American Jewish and Christian households may not have a Quran at hand, here are three passages that lend themselves to the message of peace, dialogue, and compassion. The translations come from Muhammad Asad's The Message of the Qur'an: The Full Account of the Revealed Arabic Text Accompanied by Parallel Transliteration by The Book Foundation, England, 2003. This edition includes many notes citing authoritative Muslim scholars explaining the texts. There are some texts that seem much more violent also appear in the Quran. So do such texts in the Torah, the Gospels, the Upanishads, etc. But the great teachers of all our traditions have insisted that “all their paths are peace.” All teach that some version of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the
central wisdom. "Behold, we have created you all from a single male and female, and have made you into nations and tribes so that you might come to deeply know one another [not to hate and despise each other]. Truly, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of God. Behold, God is all-knowing, all aware." (49:13 (Asad])
"True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west -- but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance -- however much he himself may cherish -- it -- upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God." (2:177 [Asad])
"There shall be no coercion in matters of faith." (2:257 [Asad])
Ah-meyn, ah-min, amen! –
Please forward this message to your friends.
On the web at: http://www.theshalomcenter.org/node/1755
By helen on Sep 1, 2010 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
HO HUM: HERE WE GO AGAIN
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
President Barack Obama gave an address on withdrawing thousands of the combat troops and the ending of combat in Iraq on Tuesday, August 31, 2010. Already the critics are busy. Nothing is new about their griping and sniping.
President Bush engaged our country in a foolish, unnecessary war on the pretext that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which if we did not go there to take them out, they would come over here and put us in peril. Many Americans were swept up into believing that vacuous myth.
The war team of Vice President Dick Cheyney, Paul Dundes Wolfowitz (the beleaguered chief architect of Bush’s war said that Iraqi oil would pay for the 2003 Iraqi war and we would be greeted as liberators), Donald Rumsfield, Douglas Feith, William Luti, Stephen Hadley, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Scooter Libby, John Hannah, David Wurmer, Andrew Natsios, Dan Bartlett, Mitch Daniels, George Tenet, Carl Rove (also known as Bush’s brain), Condoleezza Rice and a duped General Colin Powell made the case for war, Operation Iraqi Freedom. There were wiser heads who did not believe the farce, among them was President Barack Obama. After the fact, the war team has been proven wrong. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, nor were they the cause of the 9/11 disaster which took the lives of thousands of innocent Americans. Previously in 2001 we had Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Of course, Dick Cheyney’s Haliburton got lucrative no-bid contracts. Haliburton’s performance was less than stellar. Many mistakes were made. One of the most serious mistakes was the malfunctioning electrical system which shocked and even electrocuted several service people in the shower. Another was the killing of innocent Iraqis by a private security firm. Most egregious was the fact that the military armor and equipment was not up to the task. Mothers were raising funds to buy body armor for the troops. Hum vies were not sufficient to deflect IUD’s, causing the loss of too many of our precious youth. Little talked about is the fact that millions of dollars mysteriously disappeared. No one has been held accountable for that and that money has not been returned. I am still waiting to hear that Haliburton has repaid monies for illegal billing. In short, the whole thing was a mess.
Taking the lives of so many of thousands our youths, the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi, men, women and children; all this was compounded by the devastation of our domestic economy because of money borrowed to finance this reckless,senseless war.
The policies of previous administrations which lowered or removed regulations, the greed of Wall Street, the bankers and insurance companies, run wild, has caused the greatest financial collapse since The Great Depression. Instead of tending to domestic issues and putting tax dollars on our infrastructure, our health care system, our education system, preserving our industries, diverted attention was paid to two wars.
Declaring two wars within a short span of history has taken its toll on the American way of life. Unemployment is raging throughout the country, especially in the inner cities. Morale is low because the future is so dim for so many of our citizens.
All of this President Obama inherited when he walked into the Oval Office. He has made remarkable progress under extraordinary circumstances. No other president has followed a president who has left the country in such chaos and shambles, the way President Obama has. In the short time that he has been in offices, he has significantly restored America’s image throughout the world, has made it possible for women to receive equal pay for the same work that men perform, got health reform started to the benefit of college students, those with pre-existing conditions and seniors, launched a program to upgrade American education standards, provided some housing relief, and so much more, despite the determined and hostile opposition from the opposing party whose only mission is to destroy his presidency.
Frank Schaeffer, reformed right-winger has predicted that despite all the resistance, President Obama will succeed. Bob Burnett, Berkeley writer and retired Silicon Valley executive has given President Obama a very favorable rating. Nigel Hamilton, presidential historian and author of American Caesars, a book comparing presidents from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to George W. Bush. He assessed President Obama favorably and feels he’s doing a remarkable job despite all he inherited and assessed President George W. Bush’s presidency as unfavorable. These scholars are objective and have nothing to gain by their assessments so we can rest assure that biases don’t affect their judgments.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010, the talking heads are up to their usual tongue lashings. Some of the rumblings went like this. “When President Obama referred to his telephone conversation with President Bush, he was being condescending.” “He never used the word victory.” “He did not give credit to President Bush for the success in Iraq.” On and on. Ho hum. They never cease to run out of negativism that defies the facts. They are bereft of facts. They create their own reality and hawk it 24/7 to a gullible American public, lacking the ability or the interest in doing their due diligence or fact checking. They are winning the war of obfuscation and the Tea Partiers, the Libertarians and the Republicans are buying it hook line and sinker. We learn by repetition. A lie repeated 24/7 becomes the truth to those incapable of analytical and critical thinking. The Tea Partiers and the Republicans have excelled at the game of psychological warfare. Their brain washing techniques are splendidly and carefully thought out. They deliver their message well in such a convincing fashion that the duller among us are mesmerized by their verbosity. They thunder, the blunder, they are histrionic and proselytizing.
Now enter Shawn Hannity on FOX Cable this morning. Fox to me is synonymous with a perpetual lying machine. The “erudite” Hannity says, “It’s ungracious of President Obama not to thank President Bush.” Then the ever bitter, sour loser, John McCain comes on to state, that President Obama’s failure to thank Bush was “a lack of generosity of spirit.” “The part that disturbs me most is the fact that he did not thank Bush. I’m not surprised he didn’t thank Bush. That’s just not in the DNA of the individual, apparently.” Ho hum. Will he ever get over losing his opportunity to become president?
The truth does not require all this drama; and unfortunately, right now the truth is losing. Only the very astute among us know the difference between fact and fiction, perception from reality. Ho hum, perhaps America will wake up before it’s too late, if not, we’ll be snookered again and we will end up with more of the people who put us in this mess back at the helm and driving our ship of state aground. Ho hum, does anyone care?
By Randle Loeb on Aug 21, 2010 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
OP-ED COLUMNIST THE NEW YORK TIMES
Too Long Ignored By BOB HERBERT
Published: August 20, 2010
A tragic crisis of enormous magnitude is facing black boys and men in America.
Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation. The Schott Foundation for Public Education tells us in a new report that the on-time high school graduation rate for black males in 2008 was an abysmal 47 percent, and even worse in several major urban areas — for example, 28 percent in New York City. The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both mind-boggling and heartbreaking. There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job. More than 70 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. And I’ve been hearing more and more lately from community leaders in poor areas that moms are absent for one reason or another and the children are being raised by a grandparent or some other relative — or they end up in foster care. That the black community has not been mobilized en masse to turn this crisis around is a screaming shame. Black men, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, have nearly a one-third chance of being incarcerated at some point in their lives. By the time they hit their mid-30s, a solid majority of black men without a high school diploma have spent time in prison. Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men, with the murderous wounds in most cases inflicted by other young black men. This is a cancer that has been allowed to metastasize for decades. Not only is it not being treated, most people don’t even want to talk about it. In virtually every facet of life in the United States, black people — and especially black boys and men — are coming up short. White families are typically five times as wealthy as black families. More than a third of all black children are growing up in poverty. In Ohio, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the percentage is more than half. There are myriad reasons for this awful state of affairs. As with so many other problems in American society, a lack of gainful employment has been a huge contributor to the problems faced by blacks. Chronic unemployment is hardly a plus-factor for marriage and family stability. And the absence of strong family units with mature parental guidance is at the very root of the chaotic environment that so many black youngsters grow up in. The abominable incarceration rates among blacks are the result of two overwhelming factors: the persistence of criminal behavior by a significant percentage of the black population, and a criminal justice system that in many respects is racially discriminatory and out of control. Both of these factors need to be engaged head-on, and both will require a staggeringly heavy lift. Education in the broadest sense is the key to stopping this socioeconomic slide that is taking such a horrific toll in the black community. People have to understand what is happening to them before they can really do much about it. Young blacks who have taken a wrong road, or are at risk of taking a wrong road, have to be shown a feasible legitimate alternative. The aspect of this crisis that is probably the most important and simultaneously the most difficult to recognize is that the heroic efforts needed to alleviate it will not come from the government or the wider American society. This is a job that will require a campaign on the scale of the civil rights movement, and it will have to be initiated by the black community. Whether this is fair or not is irrelevant. There is very little sentiment in the wider population for tackling the extensive problems faced by poor and poorly educated black Americans. What is needed is a dramatic mobilization of the black community to demand justice on a wide front — think employment, education and the criminal justice system — while establishing a new set of norms, higher standards, for struggling blacks to live by. For many, this is a fight for survival. And it is an awesomely difficult fight. But the alternative is to continue the terrible devastation that has befallen so many families and communities: the premature and often violent deaths, the inadequate preparation for an increasingly competitive workplace, the widespread failure to exercise one’s intellectual capacity, the insecurity that becomes ingrained from being so long at the bottom of the heap. Terrible injustices have been visited on black people in the United States, but there is never a good reason to collaborate in one’s own destruction. Blacks in America have a long and proud history of overcoming hardship and injustice. It’s time to do it again.
Mr Herbert is correct in his assertive commentary on black males in America and the families in which they are born. He does not go far enough. He mentions civil rights and a rising up of the community against injustice. Such efforts have been ongoing for at least 100 years.
The rest of the community has a large responsibility in the creation of this ongoing crisis. We are all responsible for the rights and privileges of our neighbors. When will we wake up to the true spirit of the Bill of Rights, that we are all citizens of value? When will disparities that have been raised by every Civil Rights Commission over the last last century and the solutions be recognized and implemented?
We must rise and we must fight against tyranny of every form that casts a shadow over our lives.