So you know how I feel about failed solutions from Part 1. You know what actually happened (or what people are saying happened) from Part 2.
Here's my thought process on a solution:
I have to be the change I wish to see in the world.
The kids' parents are complaining that their kids were just protecting themselves. I've heard this argument over and over again. Trying to show culpability to a parent who thinks it's ok for their child to kill rather than be killed is like trying to get Kim Kardashian to date a white man. It's not going to happen.
The kids' teachers are busy. Their classrooms have too many kids already. Not only do they have to make sure they kids meet certain test requirements so the schools don't get funding cut further, but they also have to deal with the students who are only half of what they should be (physically, emotionally, mentallly, educationally) because they're not getting good guidance at home. (For whatever reason, I'm not passing judgment on the parents).
"Community leaders" can't do it because let's be honest if they could, they would have by now. Also, self-appointed leaders are mostly talk anyway.
Community organizatons are actually doing a good job, IMO. All kids in Chicago are actually not bad. All kids in bad neighborhoods are not in bad situations, but there are not enough people at community organizations to get through to everyone. Some youth have slipped between the cracks. And that's where I come in.
I've been talking about mentoring for some time now. There are financial and time sacrifices that I'm going to have to make to do it. I don't drive, I'm going to have to be on the bus to see my mentee through rain, sleet or snow, but I HAVE to do it.
I absolutely have no other choice. So I'm giving myself 7 days from the date of this post to drop my name in the hat for a mentoring organization and sign up to make a real difference. I think mentoring is the answer to the problem because you have to show people another way, if you want them to change.
And I know common sense and logic would say you need to source the problem to fix it. But here's how I see it: if both sides of a street are dirty all I can do is pick up the trash in front of my house. Even if trash is there every day.
Before picking it up
- I could send out a research team to figure out why my yard is dirty.
- I could wait to see people drop stuff in my yard then reprimand them for doing a bad job in the HOPES that they would stop.
- I could call streets and sanitation and ask them to clean it up.
- I could call the police to report the people who are dropping trash in my yard, wait for the authorities to reprimand them in the HOPES that they don't do it again and in the hopes that no other person starts dropping trash in my yard.
- OR I could just pick it up.
For all the kids dying in Chicago, I'm just going to pick it up. I'll let everyone else do the research and the talking and the organizing and everything. I'm just gonna get my yard clean, so I can go to work.
So that's my big whopping conclusion. Clean up T's side of the street and don't worry about what folks are doing on their side of the street. You were expecting a 10-point plan huh, NOPE.
Can you imagine if everyone you knew mentored a child. What a difference that would make. I'm sad it had to come to this to get me involved with the babies, but I'm excited for the possibilities. Big ups to so many of my friends who are already mentoring. You all are my inspiration.
(P.S. I'm working on some other long term projects, but I CAN make a difference right now through mentoring. And I will.)