Letters from the Issue of May 7, 2009
Silence in Liberty City
We're better than this: Thank you, Mr. Elfrink, for reminding the black community of the plague that has rooted itself in our once-proud neighborhood. However, I am responding to your article with the hope that blacks who were once enslaved by antisocial behavior and enjoy freedom today will reach back and inspire today's ghetto child.
As I recently walked through Liberty City, the hand of God rested upon me. I saw a corner crowded with young men and women waiting for the next drive-by shooting. They are young men and women who need someone to relate to them, to breathe living air into their dying souls.
Too often, however, they are bent on remaining the same. They glamorize violence and prison life instead of classroom chairs; gang life instead of family structure. Today's ghetto child's behavior reflects a life without importance. My brothers and sisters who evolved from the inner city, from parents who forgot the path their forebears took during the Civil Rights/pre-integration era, have yet to experience black pride, a loving community, and a united community where failure isn't an option. Young blacks in the inner city feel trapped. Where are the role models that make life seem fair? They're rarely within the polluted area.
It's crystal clear why the ghetto children will not listen or care what many blacks have to say. As their pain worsens day by day, the challenges fall into the laps of those who can relate, not politicians or religious people. This battle will be won only by truth and the reprogramming of today's ghetto child's mind!
Again, thank you, Mr. Elfrink, a voice outside of our community describing our community.
Stop the violence: When will we say enough is enough and demand that our government begin to take ownership of the devastating crime and violence, which is a plague to our community? Over the past four years, we have seen no meaningful reduction in crime and have continued to watch as neighbors, friends, and relatives bury their children. Children such as 18-month-old Zykarious Cordillon, who was shot and killed in his yard; or 9-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins, who in July 2006 was simply playing in front of her home and had her life taken by a stray bullet.
Do we even remember James "JT" Anderson, who was killed at the age of 16? Or Jeffrey Johnson Jr., killed at age 16? Or Samuel Brown, killed at age 16? The list goes on and on.
Each year there is a call for the end to violence, but nothing else happens other than a "plea for help." We as a community need to demand the type of consistent public service that will put an end to this senseless killing of our children. Where is our Marlins plan? Why isn't our government willing to invest the resources necessary to deal with this tragedy? Are they telling us that Major League Baseball is more important than our children's lives?
Frederick Douglas once said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them." Simply making grand speeches every time our children are killed is not cutting it.
Where are our leaders?
It's a shame: Regarding Tim Elfrink's April 30 story about the recent violence in Liberty City, "Silence and Death": As a social worker for Miami-Dade County, I feel for the residents of these tough neighborhoods. It's a shame young lives are being destroyed by this senseless violence. My job takes me to some of the toughest areas, such as Pork 'n' Beans and Lincoln Fields, and my heart goes out to residents having to live in a place unger siege.
A Matter of Faith
No way to raise a child: As Natalie O'Neill's April 30 "Pint-Size Preacher" story shows, it's amazing what "mind over matter" can accomplish. It's also very sad that parishioners who are desperate for a cure will donate massive amounts of money that ends up in the pockets of Terry Durham's parents and grandmother.
His childhood has been ruined, and one day he'll find himself without followers and without the social skills necessary to exist in the real world.
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