Due to the media’s attention on the Trayvon Martin’s case, I’ve noticed my peers engaging and sparking a dialogue about race, injustice, and violence across social networks. Many of my friends have taken pictures with their “hoodies” in memory of Trayvon Martin. I receive news stories from across the nation on the latest from the Trayvon Martin’s case on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. However, one topic that continues to appear in my news feed is “black on black crime.” Some of my Facebook friends have expressed that blacks need to focus on the “black on black crime” occurring in their very own neighborhoods.
First, I would like to say that I applaud the young people for their efforts. I’m glad that my peers want to have a dialogue about race and injustice. I’m happy to see them march and protest. My point in this blog is not to dictate to young people. I’m not here to preach because I believe that there are many young people who are doing a lot of work in their communities. Young people care. They have goals and aspirations.
I’m 25 years old, and I was born and raised in the Englewood community in Chicago. Yes, I stay in a rough neighborhood, but I do dream. I do want more for the people of Englewood. My goal is to find strategies. How can we create peace and unity within the African-American community?
I would like to start off by asking questions of myself.
Why is my community plagued with violence?
What are the root causes?
What are some specific issues that I can address?
What community partnerships or outreach opportunities need to take place to make change happen?
What resources do I need to create change.
Creating change takes people, brainstorming, dialogue, strategic planning, and collaboration. All problems will not get solved in one day. I would like to encourage my peers to find a niche or an area that they are highly passionate about and focus on how they can use it to empower their communities. There are tons of issues out there that one can focus their efforts including poverty, crime, women’s health, and education.
You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can start off where you are now. I went to graduate school for library and information science. I ask myself all the time how I can teach people in my community how to use information to empower their lives. I’m sure you have the same questions. You may have an interest in higher education. What can you do to increase the representation of minorities on college campuses across America? Are there young people in your community preparing for college? I’m sure they would like to attend; however they may need your assistance. Do they know about the job opportunities after college? How can you help them? How can you support their goals?
I’m just putting out a few ideas to get you started. I hope that you found my blog post helpful. Remember to brainstorm. Keep a journal. Volunteer and share your thoughts with others. Start identifying areas in your community that you would like to enrich and empower.