Posted on December 19, 2011

Message to Black Community: Return to Moral Code, Stop the Violence

Jewell Cardwell, Beacon Journal, December 19, 2011

Their disappointment was palpable.

That so few found the hot-button issue of black-on-black crime important enough to stand with them.

They were only about 60 in number.

Yet those who braved the cold Sunday evening to attend a vigil against violence in front of Akron’s Buchtel High School were determined to make the conversation matter. Not to sugarcoat the facts.

They didn’t.

Phil Booker, who organized the gathering by sending out messages on Facebook, said he was moved to do so because of the exceptional number of homicides the city recorded last week. {snip}

There was much blame to go around for what’s happening in the black community–nine people shot, six killed, in just days–and why it’s being allowed to happen.

Some focused on fathers missing in action. Not men, but males, as someone in the crowd characterized the situation in the homes that spill over into the streets.

Bishop Ben Drone echoed those sentiments, saying, “It starts at home. But it falls upon all us” to promote love and peace.

Acknowledging the way so many black children begin life fatherless, Drone said everyone has an obligation to mentor them as early as possible.

“It’s a moral issue. The police cannot solve this. The politicians cannot solve this,” he said. “I don’t care if you put an army in here. They can’t stop it.”

It starts from the cradle, he said, with supervision and a community providing its children with the right moral compass.


Russel Neal, Akron’s Ward 4 councilman and the only politician to attend, responded to someone angered that other political leaders did not attend.

“I hear you calling out the leaders,” he said, “but the problem is not them, or more police. It’s a moral problem.

“Our ancestors endured all kinds of atrocities.” But what is happening now is “what we’re visiting upon ourselves.”