Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wichita NAACP Statement on the recent drive by shooting death near 18th and Chatauqua

A few moments ago, I received a call from City Councilwoman and NAACP Vice President Lavonta Williams, informing me of a drive by shooting that took place yesterday near 18th and Chatauqua. I am currently out of town but I felt it was important that we not wait, but rather that we speak to this tragic issue and to those who have been affected.

I speak on behalf of the Wichita Branch NAACP as an organization and myself personally when I say that we mourn the loss of life, and offer our prayers to the family. But we most also condemn, in the strongest terms possible, the senseless and reckless cycle of violence that has plagued our community for too long and has yet claimed another life. Equally tragic as the shooting itself was that fact that the act was witnessed by a group of small children who were outside playing in the neighborhood.

As an activist, and someone who volunteers between 25 and 30 hours per week to serve this community which I deeply love, I find myself racked with anger at those whose selfishness and disregard for human life threatens to destroy the very fabric of our community. You are robbing the childhood away from our children.

To my young brothers: There is no excuse for what you're doing. I know you tell me, "man, you don't understand..."; but that's simply not true. I do understand... it's you who seemingly do not. You don't seem to understand that in a world of infinite possibilities, failure is a choice. Each of you has a god-given potential that  is too often wasted on get rich quick schemes, "hustling", drugs, excuses, and violence... It is shameful and indefensible and it must stop...

When I get back to Wichita, I plan to sit down with brother David Gilkey, Pastor Michael Tyson, and others who are committed to ending this cycle of violence to develop some new strategies for reaching these youth. If you are interested in joining in this effort, we'll be posting updates and meeting info on our Facebook page... You can join the Wichita NAACP Facebook group by clicking the applet in the upper right section of this page...

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