Monday, December 19, 2011

Akron Blacks Speak Out Against Black-on-Black Crime; Black-on-White Crime is Apparently A.O.K.

Message to black community: Return to moral code, stop the violence
By Jewell Cardwell
Beacon Journal
December 19, 2011 - 12:36 AM

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. There is also the pain he says he still feels some 30 years after the murder of his own father.

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.

Church needed

The church used to play that role, he said. But it can’t if children aren’t going to church.

Army veteran Garland Panther, who did two tours in Iraq, said what’s happening in the streets of Akron is simply mind-boggling.

“All of these kids are my family,” he said.

Siding with Drone, Panther said prayer can be a powerful place to begin.

“Every time we went out on a mission, we came together in prayer,” Panther said.

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.”

He referred to “the predators who are going through the community preying on people, terrorizing the community like this.”

Not a mystery

Neal said the answer to the problem is not a great mystery.

“If you know somebody doing wrong, try to reach them,” he said. If that doesn’t work, “then tell on them. We need to check ourselves.”

Neal left the assembly with an old African proverb: “When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion,” meaning there are some things people can achieve by coming together as one.

An emotional Howard Rookard said he is ready and willing to help find a solution.

“I’m 60 years old. I have something to say but nobody is listening,” he said.

Rookard, who said he wasn’t looking for any leadership role, told the group “I just want to help and I want to see things get better. ... It’s not just about the murders but it’s about the drug dealing and all of the other stuff, too. They got us living like we’re crazy.”

Buchtel wresting coach Cullen Rogers knows firsthand the cost of violence. His brother, Josephus Rogers, 39, was murdered June 17.

“I tell the kids if they see something, say something. That they’ve gotten this whole business about snitching all wrong,” he said.

Eena Jones’ grief is just starting. Her niece, Erica Singleton, was one of the latest victims.

“I’m scared in my neighborhood,” Jones said. “I’m living this.”

Disease of hopelessness

George Johnson, president of AFSCME 1360, said the union is standing with those who are grieving, those wishing for a better day. He said he believes the disease of hopelessness is tied to the lack of job opportunities. [N.S.: Gimme a break! This started during the 1960s, when unemployment was virtually non-existent. A lof ot his violence is based in racist black triumphalism, which is the opposite of hopelessness.]

One by one, those in the crowd who lost a loved one to violence called out their names, hoping Sunday’s effort doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

That those who saw something will begin to say something.

Friends, they agreed, don’t let friends die in vain.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at


Anonymous said...

You see hand-wringing articles like this somewhere once a year. I recall glancing through Johnnie Cochran's book about the Simpson trial years ago. Cochran told of a meeting in LA of prominent blacks, Cochran and Bernard Parks among them on how to stop black on black crime. They were concerned the "racists" would make something of the meeting.

Another point is that this is usually the first excuse when something like the Eve Carson murder or the Knoxville Horror comes up. The usual apologists say "you don't care when it is black on black."

David In TN

Anonymous said...

No brain evolution, no change of behavior