We stood in front of the TV news with our jaws dropped. The violence in and around Chicago has made us almost numb. Then this happened. What Malik Jones, 16, and his cronies allegedly did is especially heinous.
In a game they called “Pick 'Em Out, Knock 'Em Out” the juveniles reportedly punched a random 62-year-old father of 12, Delfino Mora, killing him. Jones, the alleged puncher, started his phone’s video camera then handed it to buddy Nicholas Ayala, 17. The two, along with Anthony Malcolm, 18, laughed as they walked away, prosecuters said. The teens later posted the video on Facebook.
The hours between 3 to 6 p.m. are among the most dangerous, I’ve heard law enforcement say. Kids are out of school, unsupervised until their parents get home.
Radical change is needed. The gangs are winning. The drug lords are winning. Morality and righteousness are losing. Education is the silver bullet. Until we disconnect school funding from property taxes, the impoverished and uneducated will continue to beget more impoverished and uneducated.
Enter Corey Brooks.
This Englewood pastor is committed to creating a safe place for children and families to go. First, he lived three winter months on the rooftop of an abandoned hotel to raise enough money to tear it down. Comedian Tyler Perry donated the remaining $100,000 of the $450,000.
Now, Brooks is literally walking across America to raise awareness and money to build a $4.5 million community center. He calls it Project Hood for “Helping Others Obtain Destiny.”
Cheers to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn for joining Brooks on the Chicago leg of the trip.
Wake up, suburbanites, and smell the brutality. Crime is not limited to the city of Chicago or Cook County. Like the plague, violence oozes into our communities as well.
I made a donation. I hope you do, too. Click here. (They take credit cards, so you can make a donation and get miles.)
We cannot wait for the community to raise the money themselves. If we have the opportunity to help them, we should.
“If my neighbor’s house catches fire and I know that fire will spread to my house unless it is put out, and I am watering the grass in my back yard, and I don’t pass my garden hose over the fence to my neighbor, I am a fool,” President Franklin Roosevelt said in 1940.
Our neighbors are on fire. We need to help because we can. We can’t cross our fingers and hope that the Tyler Perrys of the world will swoop down and fix everything. We need to control our own destiny.
Kids can say they aren’t part of a gang. However, when they don’t have a place to go, like Brooks’ community center, gangs have a recruiting field day.
Go to ProjectHood.org and take a look. And to deal with these fires of crime, let’s star our own game: check it out, put it out.