Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 4:37 p.m.
"The sense of abandonment the youth speaks of is real," said Divine Allah. "A classic example of abandonment in Newark, N.J., is the Boys and Girls Club named after Shaquille O'Neal. It is sitting there closed and empty. Children see this here and in other cites--vacant buildings that they could use as safe and positive venues for growth and development, for conflict resolution, safe havens, recreation centers and youth-friendly outlets with house programs to help the young people to express their energy and talents. Instead, the young people recognize that somebody somewhere does not care about them and they act out on this.
"So groups like LifeCamp Inc. and Man Up are formed to step in and repair the breach--which means we have to fix the disconnect and reconnect our beautiful youth with their courageous potential."
Allah proudly lists a number of individuals and organizations that he says are doing the work from the ground up: "There's Jasiri X and Paradise Gray and their One Hood out of Pittsburgh; and Newark, New Jersey's Zayid Muhammad and the New Black Panther Party, and Ras Baraka of the Anti-Self-Genocide/Stop the Violence campaign; the Street Warriors; Sister SeeAsia of the Nation of Gods and Earths; Kalonji Jama Changa and the FTP Movement; 10,000 Strong out of Boston; Cease Fire out of Chicago; and Stop Shooting Inc. out of New Jersey.
"One of the main goals of the Anti-Self-Genocide campaign is to get the mayor and the governor to treat this like a state of emergency, and give organizations like these real access to the schools and youth-orientated programs, to engage the young people.
"These children need real examples of leaders who offer spiritual, cultural, educational, social and political growth and development--leaders such as the Dr. Joy Leary-DeGruy, Min. Farrakhan, Dr. Laila Afrika, Queen Afua and Councilman Charles Barron, and others who offer a thorough and relevant frame of reference for us to build upon without interference from the powers-that-be."
East New York activist Kevin McCall is heated. He told the AmNews, "I will be joining Rev. Al Sharpton and other community leaders on the Day of Outrage because in the last past two months, I have attended 15 funerals due to violence. I never get used to going to funerals because it is sickening to my stomach the way youth is killing each other everyday. I am sick and tired of doing vigils, marches and complaining of the lack of services. I am demanding that the mayor stops cutting our services in the urban community."
McCall warned, "In the near future, I am going to protest at his house to send a clear message that [says]: 'You are the mayor for four more years and we are pissed and fed up of you cutting jobs and services!' I am calling on the Black church to show themselves mighty and strong. If it is not us killing us, then it is the police; if it is not police, it is the mayor doing what he does best: playing politics over people. We need jobs to support ourselves during this time of recession. We are angry!"