Pastor's Cure For Our Murderous Inner Cities Like Baltimore
Date Posted: Thursday, November 16th, 2017
As we cross the threshold of 300 murders in Baltimore City, we have to wonder what can be done. With so many thoughts racing through my head and emotions in my heart, I keep coming back to the same question of why this is happening. Why are our inner city communities subjected to so much violence and volatility?
Sure, it’s easy to casually observe from the outside and condemn this behavior as irrational and insensitive. But before we give in to our own subjectivism and pessimism, I suggest we pursue a more empathetic approach into the communities of enculturated poverty.
For a moment imagine being born into narcotics and alcoholism. Imagine living in public assistance housing with limited luxuries and activities. Imagine mornings without an adequate breakfast after going to bed without a decent dinner. Imagine subsidizing those meals with sugar, sodium and salt. Imagine waking up to mice in the home and walking down the street with rats as big as squirrels. Imagine being molested as a child or introduced to sex before your teenage years. Imagine not having enough clothes to get through a week of school. Imagine living in a neighborhood of repeat offenders. Imagine your parents on drugs, unemployed and unemployable. Imagine nowhere to go after school. Who would you be and what would you become?
I am a pastor with the ability to give my children the best, yet it is very challenging to make sure they make the right decisions when their mother and I are not around. Let’s face it, our children are exposed to so much that is heinous through video games, television, YouTube and other social media. So the child that lives in deprivation can be far more desperate in his or her pursuit of the world of material wealth. And in many cases they are desperate to just survive. To survive in Baltimore requires more than a lot of inner city kids are prepared for or even have the opportunity to pursue.
As I go to the Friday football games at Edmondson-Westside High School, a school I attended in my formative years, I see the young people of today. I see the outfits, the tattoos, the hair weaves and the piercings. I hear the vulgar language and smell the marijuana and the alcohol. But I also see their energy, personalities and skill sets. I see their struggle and their need to be accepted and respected. I see the bubble that they live in and can’t see outside of. When I drive through the city streets I see people who have been forgotten about and who have forgotten about themselves.
So it’s no wonder that so many of our young people find a life in the streets. The streets offer more hope than the “system.” Drugs buy good food and great feelings. Gangs show love and protection. Living on the run from the police beats living in a trap of poverty and victimization. These kids have little to no opportunity. And when you have been forced to live with nothing and nobody, then nobody and nothing matters. Thus, 300 murders!
And the murders will continue to happen until we as a city are determined to bring life back into our neighborhoods. We have to build Port Covington and bring Amazon and other corporations like it to our city. But we also have to rebuild our neighborhoods by restoring people and rebuilding properties. After another year of over 300 murders we have a mandate to invest in the human and physical capital of our inner city communities. And it will take intentionality, creativity and unique partnerships to revitalize our city and its residents.
We cannot give in to this subculture that disenfranchisement, disinterest and disinvestment have created. We have to realize that the murders didn’t start in the streets, but they started in our systems of education, incarceration and the economy. Let’s stop the killing by starting the kind of processes and programs that make revitalization possible. I see a clear path to better days for our city. Let’s lead the transformation for cities across this great nation.
Date Posted: Thursday, November 16th, 2017 , Total Page Views: 1873