Our Pledge To You


NFL cameras capture ‘world-class’ city while part of it weeps

Residents watch as Chicago Police officers and evidence technicians investigate the scene where a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed and an 18-year-old man was shot and wounded on the 7300 block of South Sangamon Street on Monday. Photo by Joshua Lott, Getty Images.

This is a state of emergency. The Grim Reaper bids for our children like an announcer calling players at an NFL draft, while the Ferris wheel turns and another family mourns amid the aftermath.

It is a tragic tale of two cities. One catches the “world-class” limelight as the cameras roll. But in the city on the other side of the tracks, murder tolls. And we scratch our heads, shrug and say we wish the killing would cease, say that we are at a loss for remedies.

But this is no great mystery.

Money has nothing to do with morality. Programs alone won’t stop our sons from murdering our sons.


The best program for helping steer kids clear of the ills of the hood is still good parenting.

The government is broke. The cavalry ain’t coming. The church has squandered the “meat” in the storehouse that now lies empty, and is eternally indebted to banks.

Fathers have forsaken their sons. Mothers have abdicated their authority to instill in children good lessons that last a lifetime.

We must save ourselves. Begin to raise up a new generation nurtured in the value and sanctity of human life and in the spirit of human decency. Seek to become agents of change on each of our corners of the world.

And we must now restore order. Remove the cancerous infection that seeks to ravish our sons and daughters, mothers and grandmothers. Or there won’t be enough flowers, caskets or tears for the carnage in our future.

I dare anyone to stand inside a hospital nursery filled with black babies and show me who the killers are. You can’t. Because killers are not born. They are raised. We must assume responsibility, stop blaming others and heal ourselves. We are the program. You. Me. We.

The answer lies partly in fathers being a presence in their children’s lives rather than simply being sperm donors. On mothers understanding that they have the power to mold and make a new generation. In knowing that none of this is contingent on another government subsidy or a new 21st century savior suddenly descending from the heavens.

No one can save us from us but us.

If, as a mother, you accept “drug” money from your son, you are against “us.” If, as a father, you abandon your children, you are against us.

If you murder innocent children and make neighborhoods war zones; if you harbor your sons, nephews, cousins, brothers or lovers after they have committed bloody murder; if you participate in the destruction of our community in any way, shape or form, you are against us.

I know. We want solutions that sound more “sexy,” more glorious. Instantaneous.

Surely a plethora of issues contributes to the crisis that confronts us. We must fight on all fronts. It’s not either or. But all and now.

Everybody won’t be saved. Everybody doesn’t want saving.

But we must launch a new stride toward freedom. Toward community. Away from chaos.

We grieved for Prince. Oh, that we would grieve as much for the thousands of our murdered princes and princesses whose songs we will never hear.

What makes us criticize and crucify those of us who raise our voices to address the mass destruction of us by us? Why do some of us stand on the sidelines or in the shadows, whispering in rebuttal half-baked philosophies rather than stepping forward and rolling up our sleeves?

I can just hear it now: “Who are you?”

Who am I? Nobody.

Just a brother whose face is wet with tears, crying aloud: This is a state of emergency!

Email: Author@johnwfountain.com