Dear Fellow Americans: What Does It Take For America To Control Guns And Violence?

A protestor holds up a sign reading 'Black Lives Matter' during a demonstration in Berlin, on July 10, 2016 with the motto 'B
A protestor holds up a sign reading 'Black Lives Matter' during a demonstration in Berlin, on July 10, 2016 with the motto 'Black Lives Matter - No Justice = No Peace' as protest over the deaths of two black men at the hands of police last week. / AFP / dpa / Wolfram Kastl / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read WOLFRAM KASTL/AFP/Getty Images)

How much is too much? How much pain must Americans endure before we act? How many lives must be lost, how many children, adults, church members and party goers must die? This week, our country witnessed the murder of two innocent young black men by police officers, caught on video, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and St. Paul, Minnesota. In Dallas, Texas, we lost five police officers, with nine others, including two civilians, injured after a lone gunman, a former Army reservist, during a peaceful protest went on a terrorist rampage to take justice in his own hands -- "to kill white people." The spike in gun violence and the police killings of innocent young African-American men has reached an all-time high. What does it take for Congress to Act? Civil War? What does it take for Americans to stand up and demand that Congress control access to guns? America speak up!

Action to do more to curb gun violence, and respecting the Second Amendment can co-exist. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." It's time for the silent majority of Americans to stand up, your silence is as deafening as the aftermath of those we have lost to gun violence.

Importantly, we should all be disgusted with the number of African-American men who are killed at the hands of police officers. It begs the question, are there no other methods of restraint than murder? Surely, police officers in this nation are better trained and more culturally sensitive than to "shoot first and ask questions later." The most recent callous killings of African-American men are sadly "just names" added to the list of hundreds of African-American males killed by police officers in our country with little to no accountability. Again, our hearts are broken and saddened that this continues with little consequence. We know that the vast majority of police officers are honorable and hard-working, yet there seems to be a systematic problem with the interactions of police officers and young African-American men, and in the case of Sandra Bland, even African-American women.

Our republic was created to be a government for the people, by the people, and yet this system of governance to keep us all safe, is broken and fails people of color, particularly African-American men. Furthermore, the divisiveness, hateful political rhetoric and the rancor of partisanship in Washington fails all of us in being a nation that fulfills its promise to be a representative government. The answer to the massive police murders of African-American men, is not shooting police. The answer to violence is not more violence.

The members of the Congressional Black Caucus are right, we need a serious, national conversation about the interaction of police officers and communities of color, but that conversation must be more than words, we must change the system by which African-Americans and other minorities are hunted down like animals. In many instances, communities like Dallas, have greatly improved relations with the community they serve, and that is particularly heartbreaking that a psychotic lone gunman acted out his mental instability on a police force that could share best practices with other departments across the country.

Congressman John Lewis eloquently said, "We will live together as brothers and sisters or die as fools." The opponents of gun control often point to "black on black" killings as a scapegoat to the real issue. Gun violence no matter if it's on the streets of Chicago, the mass shootings we witnessed in Newton, Connecticut or the systematic police killings perpetrated on African American males, it is all a stain on America's character. Policymakers and community leaders must stop seeing African American males as expendable, rather than potential contributors of our society. America is and will continue to pay a high price for their indifference to these acts of violence with communities wrought with dysfunction. Studies have shown that less violence exists where job security exists.

The pressure in the U.S. Senate by Senate Democrats and the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives needs the support of more Americans. I pray that we have the courage to do what is right, to speak up, to show a little humanity, and reaffirm that we are all Americans, including black males, with the right to live and the opportunity to thrive.