While it is true that murder rates in America’s cities have declined overall for the last two decades, we are witnessing a startling surge in murders this year. Milwaukee had forty-one in 2014, but had reached 84 by mid-July of this year. By the same period, Baltimore had 155 murders, fifty more than all of last year; St. Louis had 93 homicides compared with fifty-three last year. Chicago homicides were at 203, thirty-three more than at the same period last year. Weekend blood baths account for some of the surge, earning Chicago the sobriquet “Chiraq” comparing it to lives lost in the Iraq war. Sixteen were killed during the July 4th weekend and seven were killed during the Father’s Day weekend. New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington DC are also experiencing noticeable increases.
Enter the Black Lives Matter Movement, but not in response to the epidemic of murder claiming the lives of mostly black men in the inner city. They choose to focus only on instances where black men lose their lives in confrontations with police. For every black man who dies at the hands of police, fifty to sixty die in the streets at the hands of another black man. Add to that the number of children, mothers and grandmothers killed in the crossfire.
On September 29 in Chicago, a little more than a month ago, a mother and grandmother were killed and the infant with them was wounded. They were innocent victims caught in the middle of a gang rivalry. Earlier the same month, the severed head and body parts of a toddler were found scattered around Garfield Park on the West Side of Chicago. Yet the outrage and protests are directed only at police.
Murders in the inner city are only the backdrop for a host of social problems contributing to the chaos. There is family disintegration, the lack educational quality and opportunity, high unemployment and depressed urban economies. Underlying these problems is a subculture that honors criminal behavior, gang membership, fathering children out of wedlock and spending time in prison.
On the other hand, when a child shows intellectual potential and the desire to excel academically, he or she is accused of trying to “act white.” After all, it is important to “stay black.” Indeed, the mere suggestion that personal responsibility rather than racism plays the larger role in determining one’s destiny is considered blasphemous. The idea that problems facing the black community might not all be the result of racism will get you banished as a sellout if you are black and charged a racist if you are white.
All that aside, for those who are interested in actually solving the problems of the inner city, the question remains, “what can be done?” We know what must not be done: more government programs and intervention. That approach has not only failed miserably, but has made the situation worse. It is time for a private sector plan for America’s cities. This does not mean that political leadership will not be important. It will be a necessary ingredient from the President to the School Board member. Since we are in the presidential election season, it is puzzling that there has been no discussion of the crisis in urban America.
At the presidential debates, Republicans, Democrats, liberal and conservative moderators have all failed to ask a single question or offer a single idea about saving America’s cities. The first black President of the United States has done nothing to address this issue. He has only used race as a wedge to divide Americans and motivate the black vote. The candidate who embraces a unifying and substantive vision for addressing the problems plaguing our cities will probably win the election in November.
Liberal ideas and well-meaning government programs have left urban families in shambles, schools unaccredited and streets dangerous. It is time for the private sector to clean up the mess, and presidential candidates should be leading the charge.
Action item to address this issue: In the coming weeks, we will be unveiling Project CREATE, a private sector Marshall Plan to address the seething problem that threatens our entire country. “CR” is for cultural renewal. The cultural degeneration of the inner city must be reversed, and it can. Churches can do this if provided the resources. “EA” is for economic awakening. We must teach the foundational principles of capitalism and why history proves it is the fairest and most effective way to distribute goods and resources. “TE” is for technical education. We live in a technological world. Not all students want to go to college, but they should all be taught a marketable trade which will allow them to earn a living and take care of a family.
E.W. Jackson was born in Chester, PA, near Philadelphia. After graduating from high school, he joined the Maine Corps, and was honorably discharged after three years of service. He went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and from Harvard Law School.
While in law school, he studied at Harvard Divinity School, was ordained in 1979 and consecrated a Bishop in 1998. He practiced small business, criminal and civil law for fifteen years in Boston. In 1997 Bishop Jackson retired from the practice of law to devote full time to ministry.
He is the founder and Senior Pastor of THE CALLED Church, founder of the Chesapeake Martin Lugher King Leadership Breakfast and Founder and President of Stand Foundation – Staying True to America’s National Destiny – a nonprofit organization committed to bringing citizens together across racial and cultural lines to restore America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and values. He is the National President of MINISTERS TAKING A STAND, a national organization of Pastors and Christian leaders addressing the moral and spiritual issues of our time. He also founded YOUTH WITH A DESTINY, helping give youth a sense of vision and purpose for their lives.
He is the author of the book, Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life. His articles have been published in the Washington Times, American Thinker and many other publications. He has appeared on FOX, ABC, PBS, CNN and MSNBC.