Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
It was November 19, Saturday night in Chicago, Illinois. That means one thing is certain. People will be murdered. It goes without saying. Chicago is one of the most fatalistic cities in our nation. It is a city that has some of the strictest gun possession laws, but that doesn’t matter to “Chi-Town.”
From sundown Friday to sunrise Monday there will be dozens of assaults leading to murder, manslaughter and miscellaneous savagery. During the evening of November 19, murder number 673 will occur. It is so cold to frame it this way, when to the family and friends of number 673 it will be devastating.
The family and friends of number 673 will be featured in every newspaper in the nation, not just Chicago. Jovan Wilson is this victim’s name. Jovan, a 15-year-old, happens to be the grandson of the Honorable Danny Davis who is the US Congressman for Chicago’s 7th Congressional District. In Chicago and in Washington, DC, Davis is known as a very distinguished leader and is well known to millions – including me and my family.
This is the nightmare that every Black family fears. Your Black teenage child out at night where he could be in danger, like an antelope grazing the Masai Mara Plains in Kenya. Danger is around and it can be lethal.
But number 673 wasn’t your typical homicide. Jovan was arguing with two acquaintances over the possession of pants and tennis shoes. One thing led to another and fists were swinging and in the end a pistol came out and was fired. Now Jovan is dead and two other young people may be spend-
ing the rest of their lives in prison. It is a tragedy for all involved. May God bless the three young peoples’ families, especially the Davis family. Danny is such a caring leader and I know his grandson’s violent death at such a tender age is taking a heavy toll on him.
Not too long ago, Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter experienced a similar tragedy with her two nephews. They were out in Chicago on a Saturday night and were murdered. Is anyone exempt in Chicago and other urban areas throughout our nation? No, there is no guarantee for any of our families. When our leaders’ families can suffer the same way as any of us, when even police officers become targets, it is time to come together and say “stop the violence!”
It seems like common sense should help control this matter. But no, that doesn’t work. Making guns illegal will not work either. Like I said earlier, there is something very mysterious about this issue. It is some kind of selection process. One human being has no regard for others and will instantly kill another mother’s child. How do we get so evil and callous? As songwriter Maurice White of the Earth, Wind, and Fire band would say, “a child is born with a heart of gold, the ways of the world will turn that heart stone cold.”
Our churches and clergy should step up a little higher in preaching the Gospel. Our school teachers and administrators must demand discipline amongst the students they oversee. Our police must be wise and prudent as they protect the “peace” in our communities. Our courts must have the “wisdom of Solomon” as they apply the law equally and for the benefit of all. Finally, our parents must give love and guidance to their children and grandchildren. There is no doubt in my mind that the Davis family provided such love and guidance. It appears impossible to uphold a smooth and abiding societal process, as simple as it sounds in the Ten Commandments. But somehow we collectively disregard the rule of God’s law. My goodness people, our Creator knew what he was doing when he had Moses deliver it to us.
Maybe this time we will get serious. I mean more than reading at church next Sunday and then spending the rest of the week absent of what you pledged on Sunday (do you?). There is just too much hate. We are too quick to throw pain at someone and too heartless to help another human being who may be hurt.
May Chicago’s murder number 673 be more than just a sad statistic. He was a child of God and it would be such a shame if we just walk on as if nothing happened. Right now, let’s all give a deep prayer for the Davis family.
These things don’t have to happen if we begin to live “Pure of Heart.”
Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org