The Stalwart

The children are our future



Family, we have a lot to discuss about what’s going on in these United States of America streets. For starters, I want to preface this conversation by two quotes of Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President Emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund.

If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.

A nation that does not stand for its children does not stand for anything and will not stand tall in the future.

I grew up in a family where relationships were valued. The elders were honored. They were our leaders for they lead the way with love, wisdom, boundaries, and a genuine desire to see the next generation of youth do better than the generation before them. The goal was to impart enough wisdom, lessons, and respect for one another that would prepare them to be successful.

As I watch the news, see TikTok videos of mass shootings, violence in neighborhoods nationally and locally, I cannot help but to wonder where the disconnect of value for the humanity of one another has gone? I have more questions than answers. Has this disconnected of our humanity always been there or is it exacerbated by economic woes, food desserts, inadequate housing, drugs, isms, and high unemployment rates? To be frankly honest, I think it’s a big hell storm where all of it can be a culprit.

The United States of America has the highest gun violence deaths per 100,000 people among all industrialized nations. By March 2023, the USA had 13 mass shootings in schools where 63 children were killed. And between 2019 and 2021, gun deaths among children increased 50%. These are just national numbers. Here in Toledo, we have seen a similar uptick in youth gun violence deaths. This should not be seen as normal or germane to one subset of individuals. This is alarming and we should be responding to this with radical changes in the way we view safety, reform, and the importance of our youth. Marian Wright Edelman issues a clarion call that we must hold our youth in high esteem because they are our future. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune said something similar in her last written essay. She also urged us to care for, protect, and pave a way for our youth.

Have we answered the clarion call about youth?

There’s an African Proverb that states “a child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” Could we be in this era? Have we done our due diligence when rearing up our youth, protecting them from violence, giving them psychological, emotional, financial, and educational safety? The tough questions need to be asked and addressed to come up with solutions. Our children are dying, and I am sad about it! I weep for children that have no agency to make things right and are depending on adults to make this world and our community a better place. What’s taking us so long?

The reason we must make some swift transformational changes is because our future depends on them. They are to be the reinforcement and rejuvenation of future leaders with different viewpoints of worldview. As Marian Wright Edelman also stated:

We must always refill and ensure there is a critical mass of leaders and activists committed to nonviolence and racial, economic, and social justice who will keep seeding and building transforming movements.

Issues for our youth are a justice issue. Unfortunately, they cannot make the rules or change the rules. Adults are the only ones who can change the rules to ensure all safety needs are met for all children. So, in closing, I ask you to do a few things:

1.Begin to view yourself as a village with collective synergies.
2.Seek out volunteer opportunities to listen to what children need and want!
3.Be a supportive guide to people raising children.
4.Garner resources to support community agencies that work with youth.

Most importantly, ask yourself, what part of the solution is mine?

Children are a community responsibility. As leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure children have what they need to be successful.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *