05/03/07 — First steps: Ministers sound call to others — help fix what’s wrong in city

View Archive

First steps: Ministers sound call to others — help fix what’s wrong in city

A group of black ministers in Wayne County gathered this week to challenge their community to do more than talk about fixing the violence and other ills that are plaguing this city.

The pastors — along with representatives from the local and state chapters of the NAACP — announced this week that they would sponsor the “Stop the Funeral Unity Revival.” The event is designed to unite local residents — black and white — in an effort to stop the violence that has already claimed the lives of too many young people here.

And while it will not bring back any of those already lost to shootings and stabbings, and by itself will not put an end to drug and alcohol abuse or a myriad of other crimes, this gathering could be a positive first step to acknowledging that wishing things were better here is not enough.

The next step should be a meeting among all those in the city who are charged with maintaining order and helping those who are struggling. The discussion should begin with admitting there is a problem. After that, leaders can address the factors that play into violence and crime — poverty, poor parenting, poor living conditions and hopelessness that comes from a lack of an education and a lackluster future.

And along the way, talking about real penalties for the worst offenders and a no-tolerance violence policy in the city’s schools wouldn’t be such a bad idea either.

This violence, which has been around for years, is not going to stop after one community rally or hundreds of hours of politician promises.

This is a start — only. What happens next depends on how serious we are about getting the job done.

Published in Editorials on May 3, 2007 11:40 AM