The Rev. Damon Lynch recently sent out the following lament and call to action. We thought the ABCD in Action community would like to participate in the conversation and share ideas and actions. We asked Damon and he agreed to let us post his words in hopes of expanding the conversation.
" ...our collective voice and perspective is needed in the national dialogue surrounding the issue of gun control, violence and community change. I am not confident in the direction the conversation is heading and think that we need to present the President with an ABCD approach that will make a difference.
During the last two years of the Clinton administration, when his legacy project was to encourage volunteerism, I through my connection with ABCD was able to work with the Points of Light Foundation and train many AmeriCorps Vista Workers around the nation.
President Obama I'm sure will also have a legacy project and from my vantage it should center on Community Economic Development efforts that build, rebuild and strengthen communities.
Initiatives such as: re-instituting Empowerment Zones for Urban and Rural communities, promoting and funding Community Economic Development as a model for real change vs Traditional Economic Development efforts that never trickle down to the most vulnerable among others.
Below I have a quote from Father Pfleger's King Day message and his latest challenge to the President regarding violence in Chicago after the death of 15 year old honor student Hadiya Pendleton.
Even with Obama in the White House, the door of opportunity for the masses is still shut, he said. In Chicago, some 50 percent of Chicago public school children are dropping out of high school. In low-income neighborhoods nearly one-quarter of people are unemployed, and children are being routinely killed.
"We appreciate that you dealt with healthcare, we appreciate that you are dealing with pulling people out of Afghanistan but we dont appreciate that you are ignoring the violence in urban America, said Pfleger.
I've also included a quote by me as I live this pain and reality daily,
Thank God for Africa and her short life. But Africa should not be gone, said Rev. Damon Lynch III, pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church, during a service for the beautiful, smart, 15-year-old West End girl. With plans to turn her life around, Africa stayed in the streets of one of the citys most violent communities too long, becoming an innocent bystander in a random shooting on Vine Street.
Lynch and other speakers at the June 28 service in remembrance of Africa, spoke of her smile, beauty, brilliance and hopes, but they also spoke about the Black-on-Black violence in the inner city that is destroying communities.
Shooting victim Africa Dionna Hope was remembered by speakers at a funeral service June 28. This beautiful girl with a beautiful name has found peace, Lynch said in his eulogy. But dont put this on God. God never needed another rose in heaven. Africa is gone because the community is headed for self destruction.
Maybe this is just my cry out to you because I believe we as a group can make a difference and that our voices need to be heard. I would love to hear from you.
What do you think? Can ABCD approaches help turn the tide of violence. Rev. Lynch is speaking of the violence that currently plagues American urban communities, but could easily be speaking of American rural communities, neighborhoods throughout England and Ireland and small towns and cities in Africa and Asia.
Can ABCD be helpful how? Have you experienced, observed or heard of examples that hold promise? We know we have reached past the capacity of institutional responses, although they CAN be honed and improved. What can communities do right now? How can government and other institutions SUPPORT community responses rather than supplant them?
updated by @ron-dwyer-voss: 10/24/16 03:45:35PM