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Response to Recent Police and Civilian Killings

September 14, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry

Part Fourteen

Suggested Solutions (continued)

8. Education

Education is a major component of any consideration for significant change. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” says the Urban League. How true! Yet, we have failed miserably to prevent the underdevelopment of our children’s minds.

Firstly, it is shameful that our young people have to pawn or sell their souls to get a decent education, and multitudes are not guaranteed a job upon graduation. There are all kind of schemes to induce them to dig even deeper in debt.

We must start early, putting forth whatever is necessary to have every child in “Early Learn,” daycare, or whatever program to prepare our children at the early stages for a purposeful, meaningful life. Dr. Myriam Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund, and longtime advocate for children, in the September 12, 2016 issue of the Daily Challenge raised profound questions how we answer and act on them will determine the future of our children, indeed, the future of the nation.

She wrote, “As a new school year begins, how do we teach Black and other non-white children and youths and all those who are poor or have special needs to ensure their successful readiness for the future? How do educators and all those with primary responsibilities for preparing children for the future understand that every child is sacred and deserves fair treatment? How do we create a pedagogy that respects the unique gift of our diverse child population and nation of many colors and faiths and become a beacon for our multiracial multicultural world?”

9. The Populace/John Q Citizen

-Self-enlightenment: We need to educate and/or re-educate ourselves on matters relating to race.
-Introspection: We need to turn within and see the man and woman in the mirror.
-Interaction: We need to interact with each other. In so doing, we get to know him or her.

It is easier to hate other persons when we do not know them. Or, when others tell us about them, or when we only know them via the Media, Television & Hollywood (MTH). Or, when they are simply a number. When we come to know other persons, really know them, we understand they are as we are. They have desires, passion, love, dislikes. They cry, laugh, hurt, and bleed. They have families, friends, and neighbors, etc.

The Bible teaches that God has made us of one blood and that He is no respecter of persons. It was this oneness of the human family that prompted the poet John Donne to write, “No Man Is An Island”:

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”

As never before, the incredible advances in technology, computer, nuclear development, and climate change should make even the most skeptical, asinine, and numb skull to see the truth regarding the human family. We have the wherewithal to end civilization. Decisions can be made by a few individuals on the other side of the world that could blow us all into oblivion.

Above all, we should strive to implement the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would others do unto you.” Or, better still, we should strive to implement what Jesus said; and, if we did, we would obey all of the prophets and the laws: “Love God with all of your heart, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves.” A simple definition of love is empathy: feeling and thinking what others are feeling and thinking – getting into the skin of others. A sagacious person, I think it was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “We shall live together as brothers and sisters, or die together as fools.”

10. Government

And, finally there is the Federal government. The government is the foundation that could encompass all of the above. It plays a part in, or has a part to play in all aspects of our lives. I would suggest a Marshall Plan for the U.S.

When the government feared the expansion of Russia, they rebuilt the bombed out cities of Europe. They called it the Marshall Plan named after Secretary of State George C. Marshall. America speared nothing. To achieve their objective, they brought together all of the resources including money, experts, planners, architects, engineers, etc. It is imperative that we have a Marshall Plan for the decaying cities in America, in which deterioration is a greater threat than any foreign government.

Another example that America made monumental changes or achievements when there was a desire and a will do so was when Russia put Sputnik in the air. America’s leadership was embarrassed. The pride had been seriously diminished. Former President John F. Kennedy said that America will do all it can to capture America’s ascendency in outer space and in the world. And, it was done. We must do the same for our cities.

Well, it’s a steep mountain to climb, but it can be climbed. It must be climbed if we are to build a better future. We have no choice if America is to live up to its full potential or be saved. The government must find a way to save our cities and the inhabitants which occupy them. This includes, of course, affordable housing, quality medical services, jobs with livable wages, and also a serious effort to address mass incarceration. There is a threat looming on the horizon. There are ominous signs everywhere. As James Baldwin said, “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” We must build the kind of society in which everybody feels that they have a stake in its well-being.

… to be continued.

(Originally published in the Daily Challenge on September 14, 2016.)