Time To Look In The Mirror

Every time I think that this is the last straw, that it can’t get worse, something worse happens.

I cry looking at the news to see babies getting killed for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some of these kids die in their parents’ arms.

Then a pregnant woman gets killed. And then the seven shooting deaths in a short period in South Shore occur. What the hell is happening and why?

The Black community has got to take control of itself. These are not police shootings; these are Black folk killing Black folk, like we are living in a war zone. We are.

The kids are suffering in too many instances from psychological trauma, the kind war children live in. We cannot continue to blame others; it’s mandatory that we look in the mirror.

Yes, there is poverty and our neighborhoods beg for economic development. We have given the politicians a free ride because we don’t leverage our voting power. We give our vote away or don’t vote at all.

It’s not okay. The excuses need to vanish and the work needs to begin. Let’s make Chicago great again, that is, all of Chicago. How about that as a new motto?

State government has disappointed. We have lived nearly three years without a budget because Governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker Mike Madigan are playing power games. Enough already. People are suffering.

Higher educational institutions, where our futures lie, are being dismantled. Programs are being cut or discontinued, people laid off, and classes not starting because of no funding.

Social service agencies have closed and some won’t reopen due to a lack of funding. People are being placed in desperate situations. The government is supposed to serve the public, not punish.

The Black community has got to take control of itself

How do we pay policemen millions in overtime and can’t pay teachers for time served and plan to close schools early because of no money?

How do we continue to be the city with more cranes in the air than any other American city, but neglect the African-American communities economically?

How do we build and rebuild some neighborhoods and neglect others? The South Loop next year will be a new community with luxurious high rises all around where factories once thrived. But we ignore the guts of the South and West Sides.

How do we build the Riverwalk with beauty and grandeur and miss the poor parts of the city? How do we await the development of the Obama library and neglect the surrounding neighborhoods?

How do we allow our churches to be overwhelmed with social problems and let our public agencies, funded by tax dollars, die?

How do we allow ourselves to continuously be ignored by the foundation money, the grant money, and the political money?

How do we allow the bicycles to take over the city in some areas and ticket the communities where bicycling is the least participated in?

How do we allow the decay in our neighborhoods to continue and just live in silence?

We can’t. It is time for us to save our city, all parts of it, in every way that we can.

Hermene Hartman

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