More Action less Talk on Youth Violence
Youth violence is widespread, and is the second leading cause of death nationally for people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. These statistics are heart-wrenching, and the pain and suffering is felt profoundly by families and the wider community.
I was intentionally going to begin this article with statistics on the murder rate of our community but I figured the number isn’t zero so it doesn’t matter because one murder is too many especially for my neighborhood. But the question that so many seem to not have an answer to in this community is “how do we stop youth violence?"
Then again maybe we do have an answer but are taking the wrong approach to fix the problems. And then again maybe the people in this community are all talk and no action. When was the last time you contacted your councilman or political figure in your community to just ask, “What are you doing about youth violence?”
If you haven’t done this or can’t remember the last time, then you are a part of the problem (all talk and no action). It’s time the people of this community come together to answer the question, “What do we do about youth violence?” so that we can take the correct approach to zero tolerance of crime in our community.
I have been to a countless number of community meetings where the topic of discussion is youth violence and how we prevent it and what is the cause of it, then I look around, it’s a room full of adults and no youth.
Let me ask you a question, if you wanted your walls painted would you go to a mechanic? I know common sense isn’t common but any person with good sense would say "No."
So I ask you if we are wanting to know how to stop youth violence, why we are not asking the youth within our community? My approach is let’s go directly to the source and I believe the best way to reach out to the youth is to go into their classrooms. This way we can ask them for answers and suggestions in a setting amongst their peers-- the same people they seem to be having conflicts with.
Let’s just be honest here. A lot of these problems are coming from a school system that is failing our children and this failure is escalating the trouble on the streets of our community. We as a community have to come together and that includes the parents of the youth. You have to step up and take control before it’s too late because the reflection of a child comes from their home. I am proud to be a resident of North Collinwood but I am not proud of many of the residents that live here in North Collinwood, not enough of us are stepping up. With or without your help I will do my best to help this community. I would like to give a special thank you to our councilman and a true mentor of mine, Mr. Michael Polensek, who has supported me and this community and who is every day is making an effort to better our community.
Donald Holcombe is a youth activist.