Harlem teen shooting highlights 'state of emergency'
Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 5:31 p.m.
George White was a regular 15-year-old who lived on Frederick Douglas Boulevard off West 140th Street in Harlem. Last Friday night, September 24, he went to a neighborhood party, and around 10:52 p.m., he was shot once in the torso. He was then taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Tearful friends and neighbors spoke of the loss. It is not clear if he had been the intended target. Gone too soon was the sentiment, though.
"Stop the killing. This madness must stop," declared an exasperated Councilman Charles Barron. "I have had too many tears of mothers soaking my clothing as they bury their children. We don't want to be the generation of parents outliving their children."
The tears of a mother or a sister or a dad should be enough to make a gun-toting youth give up gun violence. Again, with yellow tape wrapped around polls and fences, people gathered, pointing, crying, talking about what they know and who they think they saw.
"It is a too familiar sight in our neighborhood," said Barron. "Our children are too used to seeing crime scenes where there's tape and patrol cars and detectives."
The NYPD told the AmNews that there has not been an arrest by press time, but the investigation is ongoing.
"We are in a state of emergency, and we are urgently calling on the government to focus on this issue," said Barron. "We have to bring jobs and youth centers to the community. We can't continue to address the issue with more police and more prisons and tougher sentencing. It is not working. I had a young man hit in my district in East New York, and the police were right on the corner. We need economic development and job creation.
"We have people running for higher office who are engaging in racially benign neglect. This is an issue that affects us all. Just as we had a Marshall Plan when they destroyed Europe, we need a Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. Martin Luther King Plan for the inner city. How many more of our precious youth do we have to lose before they understand this is a state of emergency?"
Barron concluded, "On the other hand, even though we have high unemployment and some dire social conditions, we have too many young people, too many misguided warriors killing each other. They need to bring that fight to the political movement for liberation, not engage in self-destruction. That's what men and women do--they bring it to those who are oppressing them, not the fellow oppressed."