Just Sayin’ …We must continue Rev. Blackwell’s work (Ulish Carter's Column April 26, 2017)


On Easter Weekend, one of the many groups fighting to stop the Black on Black violence in the streets, and at home, held its 7th Annual Homewood March for Peace, but without its founder, the late Rev. Eugene “Freedom” Blackwell.
Reverend Blackwell, founder of the House of Manna Ministries, began the march to bring people in the Homewood and surrounding neighborhoods together in peace and harmony, so they could get to know each other as humans instead of colors, gangs, or rivals in the street war over drugs.
He didn’t wait for the people to come to the church, he took the church to them on the streets.
Pittsburgh, through the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Stop the Violence campaign, has more groups and organizations fighting and urging people to stop the violence than any other city. While other urban cities are ignoring the critical issue of our young men being gunned down in the streets by each other, Pittsburgh, mostly through the efforts of mothers, grandmothers, relatives and other concerned citizens, have several marches, rallies, vigils and other events to bring attention to this massive problem, which is among the top things holding Blacks back in education, business and every other challenge confronting us.
Behind the efforts of Rev. Blackwell, the march had grown into one of the largest in the city, and it appears it will be around for a while even without him because the need for peace on the streets is still critical and, most of all, he made it clear that it wasn’t about him, but about the young people and the Black community as a whole.
The groups and individuals throughout Pittsburgh like Rev. Blackwell and Valerie Dixon and many, many others are the reason Pittsburgh hasn’t joined the ranks of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, New York City, Cleveland, Los Angeles, East St. Louis and many others in becoming war zones.
Speaking of war zones, I was watching a movie recently, entitled “Southside With You,” starring Tika Sumpter as Michelle Robinson and Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama. The movie dealt with their first date…well, Michelle said it wasn’t a date, but Barack said it was. It was a beautiful movie.
But in one segment of the movie, he takes her to this community meeting on the South Side of Chicago in which Black people are fighting to get a recreational center so their kids would have a safe supervised place to attend while they are not in school. The movie was based in 1989 when Barack was a young law associate and Michelle a young attorney at the same firm. At this meeting the residents voiced their fears for their kids, which hasn’t changed today, and like then, none of the top community leaders were making these issues of violence and drugs a priority. However, it was a major concern for the community people and young Obama, but somehow it didn’t become a major part of his eight years in office as president.
Check the movie out, it’s a beautiful love story. But it only deals with one day.
Since I am dealing with violence in the Black community, I still haven’t heard anything from President Trump about his programs that are going to “Make Black America Beautiful and Strong Again.”
He said that what he’s going to do for Black people is going to be beautiful. So far, going into his first 100 days, I haven’t heard or seen anything he has done for Blacks, except the tax cuts for the rich, which will help the very, very small percentage of Blacks who are rich, but nothing for the low and middle income.
He’s still talking about a health care plan that is going to be “beautiful, great, wonderful,” but no details.
Dr. Anthony Hamlet, Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent, continues to impress me with his out of the box efforts to fix the many problems in the public school system. The latest headline in the Courier was “Community voices concerns about PPS Code of Student Conduct,” last week (April 19).
He’s openly seeking feedback from parents, concerned citizens and students of how to best discipline students. There has to be some kind of discipline or the other 95 percent of the students will not be able to learn because of the 2 to 5 percent, which are disruptive. But 10 day out-of-school suspensions is a bit much; how is this helping the students being punished?  It only set them further behind which leads to more frustration.
(Ulish Carter is the former managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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