Put Down: Bricks … Pick Up: Pens

The Oxford Dictionary, defines the word ‘PEACE’ as: “Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility; freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.”

Just this week our nation once again faced an eruption of anger across the country, due to the death of a young man, Freddie Gray, who died from a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. Baltimore, Maryland streets began to bubble with riots, car and building fires, dozens of businesses were looted, with people breaking into stores and stealing merchandise- all resulting in the Governor of Maryland declaring a State of Emergency, activating the national guard and imposing a mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m..

Here is the pickle we find ourselves in… tossing bricks and bottles, stones and cones frankly, Doesn’t Solve Anything! When groups of citizens expose entire areas of society to violent crimes, they in turn inspire more violence. Like in Baltimore this week, where gangs revved up crowds by posting credible threats to ‘take out‘ law enforcement officers and in turn, inspiring young teens in this community to believe the force of a brick is more powerful than the strength of the brain.

Yesterday, in a Rose Garden Press conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Barack Obama condemned the “criminals and thugs who tore up” the city of Baltimore on Monday night, and he continued by stating “There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive.

To that statement by the President of the United States, we too continue to implore the need to promote the power of the pen in neighborhoods across the country, which may be suffering from side-effects of impoverishment. The root of our problem is not the police or the children, but you see, our biggest problem is… our tolerance and inept acceptance of Violence.

The determination of whether this acceptance was passed down generationally by the anger in children whose parents were in some way, shape, or form taken from them by the rule of law; or if it was inspired by violence strewn in entertainment- such as video games & movies; or maybe even lyrically inspired by Hip-Hop music, which actively hypersexualizes ‘Thug Culture‘… maybe it’s a compilation of all of the above? 

We have seen this cultural term ‘Thug‘ amplified as of late, with criminal cases such as the murder trial against NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd less than two weeks ago. Webster Dictionary explains a ‘Thug‘ it to be: “a brutal ruffian or assassin; gangster, tough”… Let’s ensure the fact that ‘A Thug’ can be of any race, because it defined anyone who explores the culture of gangs AND acts upon said brutal toughness, which is expected as a core value of being part of a gang, is hence considered a ‘Thug’. In case you were wondering, that ‘thug culture’ has stats from the FBI like these tainting it’s connotation: Between 2007 to 2011, the FBI estimated, on average, more than… 15,500 homicides across the United States… suggesting that gang-related homicides typically accounted for around 13% of all homicides annually!

This afternoon the most award Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps, who happens to call Baltimore home, Tweeted some heartfelt inspiration … “…We can get through this together! #BeMore

The answer? Yes @TheYLife agrees with Mr. Phelps, we must expect our generation to #BeMore! How? EDUCATION, the notion that anything but education and opportunity will stop the violence is obsolete.

Parents need to connect to their children and inspire them to be positive assets to society, it doesn’t matter whether they are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or Middle Eastern… Everyone NEEDS to live and oblige to the rule of law.

Moms must instill the highest value of respecting humanity in their children, a basic expectation that they come home and do their homework in order to look forward at a future of opportunities, this will provide children with hope- remember children are sponges who grow up to be the product of what they have seen and were taught as infants.

If we live in the way of the light, providing the proof in the ineptitude of violence… We will yet have time to render hope for a generation who can find their truth in picking up a Pen instead of a Brick!