"In July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless". Rome's emperor Nero, at that time, "fiddled while Rome burned."
In a previous blog we wrote about our concern that the crisis of Black on Black gun violence was getting insufficient attention from the media, community and political leaders.
In an excellent column in today's New York Times, much of which we disagree, because, Charles Blow, a superb columnist, focuses on local and national ways we can organize and protest our displeasure with President elect Trump's inauguration.
Donald Trump has been elected POTUS and he will be inaugurated. Calling for persons to organize protests to his inauguration, while different in magnitude, under different historical conditions, Mr. Blow, is, directing our protest attention toward the wrong objective. Relative and comparative to the seriousness of gun violent deaths in Chicago, and elsewhere, nationwide, "fiddling" while Chicago burns.
In the same column, however, evidencing his customary superb wisdom, he reminds us of precisely what we think IS important to remember in connection with addressing the ubiquitous Black on Black gun violence in Chicago. He writes:
" When politics seem out of your control, remember that community and culture are very much in your control. We help shape the world we inhabit every day. A life is a collection of thousands of decisions, large and small, made every day. Make those decisions with purpose and conviction, especially for Jan. 20" (Charles Blow. "The Anti-Inauguration", NYT, Jan 5, 2017)
Robert J. Sampson, a professor at Harvard and the author of "Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect" reminds us "You can't divorce the gang problem from the problem of deep concentrations of poverty."
Douglas S. Massey, a sociology professor at Princeton University, concurs, writing that "What predicts violent crime rates is concentrated poverty and neighborhood disadvantage, and what determines concentrated poverty is high levels of black segregation combined with high levels of black poverty,...In Chicago, homicide rates correspond with segregation"
Instead of directing protests against President Elect Trump's inauguration why is there no rising national call for him, as one of HIS first act's as our new POTUS, to address the growing virus of Black on Black crime and poverty in Chicago, and other African-American communities nationwide?
As our nation nears it's national commemoration of the 88th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr, it is useful again to quote parts of the speech that Rabbi Joachim Prinz, then President of the American Jewish Congress delivered at the August 28th, 1963 March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom. He said:
"When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence".
"A great people, which had created a great civilization, had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder.
America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent"
Efforts like the new Joan of Arc like person, Dr. Shari Lynne Rogers, from a suburb to Detroit Michigan, to reinvigorate the historic coalition that developed between the Jewish and African-American communities during our Civil Rights Movement are sorely needed TODAY. We need to bring greater national attention to the seriousness of Black on Black gun violence. Her documentary film, "Shared Legacies" may be just the unique tool essential to galvanize and organize a new, "fierce urgency of now", national conscience on this issue.
As Dr. King said in historic speech in opposition to the Vietnam War its, "TIME TO BREAK THE SILENCE"