We’ve taken Commissioner Kelly to task before because of his remarks and methods regarding policing in our neighborhood areas and here we go again.
It is sad to see the city’s chief crime fighter so stunningly ignorant of the anti-violence movement, when anti-violence, aside from being his bread and butter, should be his job #1. As Mary Alice Miller shows in her article “Anti-Gun Violence Activism: The Movement Ray Kelly Can’t See” even in this one area of Kings County, there are many groups, associations and heroes whose names we will never know, heroes who know their time on earth is for more than watching television or shopping or lusting for money and power with blind ambition. They are not recognized or seen by the likes of Ray Kelly, but they spend their time in service to those with less, trying to recover what lives they can.
But they are fighting what seems to be a losing battle because the policies of the Bloomberg Administration are set it on an unholy mission to destroy the African-American community across this city faster than an army of community groups can save and hold it together.
We have a 50% graduation rate of school-age children, depression-era unemployment for Black men and the city’s response is to cut pre-kindergarten, cut pre-school and cut after-school. Longtime community organizations are being pushed out of the child care system. “The organization that is taking over our center has no experience in delivering early child care up until now. But because of who they are apparently that doesn’t matter,” said Fela Barclift of the 23-year-old Little Sun People center where she’s been the director since 1996. Speaking on Education at the Crossroads with Basir Mchawi on WBAI radio, she said “About 3-years ago our after-school program was demolished. All of the after-school programs were taken out and given to these huge Beacon-type programs, with hundreds of children packed in together, and losing that one-on-one relationship” which is the very definition of a tutor.
We’ve seen the people in the street raging against the violence there. Now we’d like to see some rage against the rampant crime on Wall Street, where millions of lives have been affected by their fraud and lawlessness and yet none of the “masters of the universe” have gone to jail.
If the boardroom economic violence of the banksters could be brought under control and some of their ill-gotten gains “clawed-back” and put into the city budget, and if the systemic violence against people of color can be reined in, and if young people were given the education, counseling and support they need, then we would be on our way to stemming the violence in the street.