Making the Normal, Normal (Combatting the Criminal Culture)
In the past week, our neighborhood has had 5 young men shot, one of which died. I was interviewed by a news reporter who had just left the scene of the murder. She informed me that while she was interviewing someone about the murder, she noticed children in the background laughing and twerking, as if they hadn’t just witnessed a murder! She was irate, and stopped the interview to address the children. They responded, “We (are) used to this”. She was at a loss for words.
That story illustrates the attitude in most of our inner city neighborhoods. Gunshots, murders, crime- they have all become normal. It is now socially acceptable for these things to occur in our neighborhoods. Violence and disrespect have become common, as common and regular as the mailman delivering the mail. It is expected now. The abnormal has become normal.
How do we combat this culture? The neighbors don't know how to respond. Many people have said that the task is too great, and they have moved to other places. Others have become recluses, and refuse to sit on their porches or allow their children to play outside. We (LifeLine to Success) see this as the perfect opportunity to make a difference and change the direction of our community. Many of our team members were the causes of these events. We are the reason that this sub-culture has not only survived, but has begun to thrive. We know what is needed to make the normal, normal again. It is our duty to make it happen.
Our classroom instruction has equipped the team members with the skills to combat negativity. Our community service efforts have instilled in them the sense of ownership and civic responsibility that makes them want to see the benefits of their labor. They have become enlightened and have accepted the charge. To combat this sub-culture, we plan to start sports leagues (beginning with baseball) to allow us constant access to the children, in order to give them tools to become successful adults. We will be the alternative to a life of negative behavior.
We cannot do this alone. It takes partnerships and the community coming together, working in harmony. We will SUCCEED!