By Charlie Kroy
Some of our wisest and brightest are locked down in our penal system. We are plagued with an ever growing genocide. With Gang lifestyle so prevalent in our communities, I am overwhelmed with so many pertinent questions. Do our elected officials and local leaders understand what is going on? Does anyone care? And, what are we going to do? Tomorrow will be too late. No longer can we ignore the cries of the streets. The Gangster way is to “Ride or Die”. It is clear that the fear of death is non existent; But it is the fear to live that we must address.
The lights are off, no electricity, no heat or hot water, food is little to none…. This is the beginning motivation of a Hustler. Survival. “I’m tired of struggling for the necessities. Tired of having to boil water so I can wash up.” There are too many of us drowning in the day to day currents of life. Once you come upon the place of despair and your options are now robbing, selling drugs and killing people, the frivolous bickering in Congress is only fuel to the madness. If my child can not walk down the street without the possibility of being killed or go to school without being bullied to the point where they don’t want to go or even die, tell me why would my number one priority be Health Care?
I invite you to begin an open dialogue about how Gang Violence has affected you directly or indirectly. We seem to be either so familiar and accepting of this lifestyle that we don’t even realize that we have a problem. Or some try to dismiss it as someone else’s problem. As Americans we must embrace an inclusive way of life. If we continue to segregate ourselves we will become the catalyst to our own demise. The less we know of one another the longer we remain stagnant. I don’t believe that disassembling gangs alone will solve the Gang problem. We must get to the root of the problem. And if you don’t recognize the responsibilities that we have to one another as children of this Earth, than we will never reach our true potential.
So what do you tell someone whose lights are off? The electricity being turned off is the first of many bills that can’t be paid. How do you calm someone of the fear of being evicted with their children? The “obvious” option to some is to turn to the illegal ways of the streets. When money is what you need to maintain the necessities, how do you convince someone not to sell drugs or rob someone even though they don’t know where their next meal will come from and worse of all when you don’t know what to tell your children anymore. This is the foundation of Gangs. “Family” maintaining the best way you know how. Although you may frown about the choice, it is chosen everyday.
Can you feel hopeful if you don’t know what hope is? Can you strive for success when you don’t even know what success looks, smells and feels like? Integration, Mentoring and Participation are key ingredients required for success. When all you know are the cheers from your fellow comrades after you are released from jail, is getting arrested a deterrent? One of our fundamental needs is for power. History has demonstrated that without power you are irrelevant. The concepts of Gangs are understandable, wouldn’t you agree. Making money, A Family, A Purpose….. The problem is the technique. So I implore you to open yourself to the cries and cares of those who don’t know how to care for themselves. I have lost too many comrades to their own ignorance. Dying on the quest to fulfill dreams that were skillfully produced in a studio.
The name of your clothes: Useless
The kind of car you drive: Useless
How many girls you have: Useless
Because at the end of the day when you can’t sleep because you know that you are wanted by the streets and all of your leadership and organizational skills are useless because you are in prison, why does it matter? After all the tears at the funeral, you are soon forgotten. Another face on a mural.
So, what would I tell someone whose lights are out, and they are boiling water to wash their bodies? I would tell the to “Take the financial loss now so that you can rebuild a stable foundation for the future.”I don’t merely give my opinion, I’m living by it.