PHILADELPHIA (FinalCall.com) – Some of the best Black minds recently weighed in on a vexing problem that has surpassed even the larger cities of New York and Los Angeles–an increasing murder rate.
Philadelphia has had at least 108 people die as a result of gun violence so far this year, the majority of the murder victims being Black, which has given the City of Brotherly Love a new name: “Killadelphia.”
In a “Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia” event held Apr. 8 at the 1st District Plaza, located at 38th and Market St., Haki Madhubuti, Dr. Molefi K. Asante, Dr. Carl Bell and Dr. Asa Hillard formed a panel to tackle this daunting problem, with thought-provoking results.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Madhubuti declared that the real community problem was abysmal ignorance and a lack of real knowledge of who the enemy is, not violence, and outlined five steps that needed to be taken to address the issue. First, he said, Blacks need to set up mini-learning centers in our community, the emphasis being placed on children first, black boys in particular. Mr. Madhubuti also said that Blacks must be their own cultural experts, and the creator of ideas.
Dr. Molefi Asante pointed out during his presentation that, “All violence is a statement of self hate.” He further explained that during times of war, there is a surge of violence in the community and our young people are only modeling what they see in society.
“The problem can be resolved; we know the answers and it won’t be solved overnight,” he said. In crystallizing the issues, he opined that one major problem is our family structure, stating that it was much stronger in 1825 than it is today. “We have problems of commitment to each other,” Dr. Asante cited.
Dr. Carl Bell’s presentation addressed studies which point out that most of the violence is due to interpersonal altercations and a lack of connection to each other. He recommended teaching social skills so that people will know how to talk to each other, along with neighbors needing to know each other and connect to one another; teachers connecting with parents and vice versa. “We must reestablish the adult protective shield,” Dr. Bell said.
Dr. Asa Hillard stated that he viewed the problem in a three fold manner: Materialism, racism and militarism, and lamented on how this society is so violent.
“How can you go to your community and say be non-violent when this is the most violent society in the world?” he argued, and said that notable Black men, such as the Honorable Marcus Garvey and the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad mobilized and changed behavior, specializing in taking people and turning their lives around.
“Use these models,” Dr. Hillard implored.
As the panel of dignitaries concluded their presentation, the next problem focused on was self- esteem, the scholars all seeming to agree that the Black community does not suffer from an esteem problem. Also agreed upon was that the cause was more of a lack in good education, structure and cultural awareness.
“Culture is the glue that holds families together,” Dr. Hillard said.
Echoing these sentiments, Mr. Madhubuti pointed out that in Chicago, his organization is operating four African-centered schools, taking students as young as 2.5 years old.
In the concluding statements, Dr. Asante stated that the root cause of violence in the Black community is a lack of cultural esteem. “We do not like being Africans,” he said.
Dr. Bell said Blacks must keep their children out of White institutions, and asked “Who controls our destiny–us or White people?”
While Dr. Hillard pointed out the government is forecasting prison beds based on reading levels in the inner cities and Mr. Madhubuti observed, “I can walk into your home and see where you are culturally. Go into the children’s room. It starts at birth.”