My heart bleeds for Alicia Moore and the other at risk youth we leave unprotected. We don't have to live like this. We can choose to opt out. Trust me I know how that sounds to a people who have been stuck in a cycle of poverty and violence as long as we have and still can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. But first we have to be willing to let go of the lie that poverty equals criminality because it does not. All that does is justify bad behavior. This is not to suggest by any means that a hungry man wont steal to satisfy that hunger. Nor is it an excuse to do that. But there is a distinct difference between a man snatching a loaf of bread from the counter to eat and a man that stalks and shoots his victim because he wants to possess what the victim has.
The Huffington Post published an article titled, “In Chicago, You're Either Prey or Predator,” a sentiment conveyed to Diane Sawyer by a gang member. But what else would you expect from a member of a violent criminal organization (a black one) in competition with like parties who's only objective is to control the illegal activities which include the lucrative gun sales and drug distribution in the Afro American community. Then adding insult to injury the spokesmen of these violent organizations are Hip Hop icons. It's not about poverty, its a power play. As they see it (the heads of these criminal organizations) we are the pawns and the prey, at least as long as we allow it. An oppressed people are oppressed by their consent, not without it.
How do we opt out? We must first understand that the power to rid the universe of evil has not been bestowed upon man whatever you believe it's origins to be. So try as we might we will never completely rid our community of the evils that plague it. So why try, right? Well, Dr. King once said, “...the myth of time...is the notion that only time can solve the problem of racial injustice. And there are those who often sincerely say to the Negro and his allies in the white community, "Why don’t you slow up? Stop pushing things so fast. Only time can solve the problem. And if you will just be nice and patient and continue to pray, in a hundred or two hundred years the problem will work itself out." There is an answer to that myth. It is that time is neutral. It can be used wither constructively or destructively. And I am sorry to say this morning that I am absolutely convinced that the forces of ill will in our nation,...the people on the wrong side—have used time much more effectively than the forces of goodwill. And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, Wait on time.”
What he is alluding to here is the existence of a balance of power and that time favors neither the one nor the other and that although it is marked by time it is independent of time, not controlled by it. So how does that allow us to opt out? He went on to say that, “Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
We opt out when we make a conscious decision as a community to utilize time much more effectively than the forces of ill will within our community. How do we do that? Simply by doing, as a community, what we know is the right thing to do at all times. By being considerate and kind to one another. By not allowing murderers, rapists and thieves sanctuary in our communities. By having a zero tolerance attitude toward all gang and drug activity. By those in positions of authority and influence (parents, teachers, elected officials, police,...) exercising that authority in a manner that is consistent with your desire to opt out. Carpoolers can refuse to tune into radio stations that play into goonery and buffoonery. Heads of households can demand pants up and hats off in my house and none of that self hating goon music will cross my threshold. See the key to opting out is understanding the balance of power and committing ones collective self to maintaining that balance in favor of goodwill. But the right leadership is absolutely crucial. As I said before I say again God help us because this current crop of Black Leaders are clueless. Remember our ancestors weren't just stolen into slavery by White men they were also sold into slavery by Black “leaders” they trusted.
you can find Dr Kings entire speech here