by A. Peter Bailey
(Trice Edney Wire) – Back in 2008, I wrote a column that included the following guidance from journalist-historian-author-master teacher Lerone Bennett, Jr.: “Given the way we are forced to live in this society, the miracle is not that so many families are broken, but that so many are still together. That so many Black fathers are still at home. That so many Black mothers are still raising good children. It is the incredible toughness and resilience in Black people that gives me hope. That toughness and resilience should give all of us hope and provide a foundation upon which to build strong, productive, harmonious Black communities.”
Many of us, including myself, sometimes begin to feel a sense of hopelessness when seeing that way too many Black people, young and old, are basically acting as soul mates to white supremacists. That’s what they are when they create havoc in our communities. Fortunately, however that kind of homelessness is very brief because we strongly believe in the possibilities of our people as cited by Brother Lerone. It is an absolute requirement that Black churches, business organizations, social organizations, communications organizations, fraternities and sororities etc. begin to take a more active role in creating the type of productive unity that has been advocated by many of our ancestors.
A sound response to current events in this country is provided an individual, Thomas Penny, President of Donohoe Hospitality Services. Brother Thomas told me that “This past week I visited Youth Services Center (YSC). In response to the increased violence sweeping our city and many urban centers throughout the country, I believe those who violently harm grandmothers, children, seniors and others need to be held accountable. As I moved throughout the youth facility and witnessed Black young people as early as thirteen years-old, with their foreheads pressed against the glass window of their single-unit cells, I felt a deep sense of responsibility to those in the facility. I have volunteered to adopt a unit of 10-12 young people and personally bear the expense of different incentive offerings to encourage positive behavior. Government alone will not solve this problem. We need business leaders, preachers, educators, activists, university students and people of goodwill to engage. It’s the only way forward.”
Just think of the changes that would occur in our urban Black communities if the groups cited by Brother Thomas were taking that kind of action before so many young Black folks get into trouble. If we as a people are as tough and resilient as cited by Brother Lerone, we are in a position to do whatever is necessary to promote and protect our health, economics, cultural, political, technological and communications interests in this country and in the world.