Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Success of the MANNIE Project by Akindele Akinyemi

When we are dealing with Black on Black violence in our community it is a severe crisis. We understand the following:

The average Black commits murder about 7.1 times more often than the average "White."

The average Black commits interracial murder about 13.8 times more often than the average "White."

The average Black kills a "White" 15.9 times more often than the reverse.

The average Black commits murder about 9.5 times more often than the average White.

The average Black commits interracial murder about 18.4 times more often than the average White.

The average Black kills a White 21.2 times more often than the reverse.

What is it with us? Why do we kill each other at a rate that's disproportionately higher than that of other people? We have heard the excuses before - that we're prone to crime, violent by nature, and poor and oppressed - but what are the real causes?

Those questions were discussed this past Friday at PATCHES INC's MANNIE Project Stop the Violence rally. This event was held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and brought out several grassroots leaders including Minister Dawud Muhammad of Muhammad's Mosque #1, Minister Malik Shabazz and Rev. DeDe Coleman.

Those on the panel included Ken Harris of the International Detroit Black Expo, Edward Foxworth, Pastor Glenn Plummer, Raphael Johnson, and myself.

Tiffany Tilley, PATCHES INC. President and CEO, has been on the front lines to utilizing strategies to stop violence in our community. When she lost her cousin (which the Project is named after) almost 5 years ago she decided that enough was enough.

It was time to take back the streets.

The panel was moderated by Denise Crittendon (editor of the African American Family Magazine).

The MANNIE Project is a great start to combating violence in our community. Think about it.
Black folks in our community must break out of the mold of acting out in ways expected of us. Angry black men without focus aren't a threat to anyone but themselves, and have become the targets of ridicule by those outside of our communities.

It can be argued that Black life is viewed by many as being worthless, and it should come as no surprise that many studies have confirmed that the punishment blacks receive when the victims of violent crime are white is far more severe than if the victims are black. Add to this the lack of opportunity, sense of deprivation, powerlessness and alienation that many of us experience since birth and the picture becomes all-too-clear that society is not set up for our benefit.

You see the government is not going to take care of us. We have to make our own way, and in order to get there we must first respect ourselves and each other. Easier said than done, you say? Why? Things are easier when we get along, especially since it appears that many others don't want us to. The name of the game now is to be educated. Stay educated and focused on not only the present, but on your future too. How many young folks today can't envision themselves older than 25? How many plan for the future at all?

Ken Harris had a great point on the panel that I sat on. He asked this question to the audience, "why are lying to our children? You young people need to learn how to own your own. The answer is economics."

He is absolutely correct. Free market economics is a tool for liberation of Black people if we begin to understand the full science of fiscal literacy in our homes and in our community.

So what must we do? Like Tiffany always say we must take responsibility, first and foremost, for both ourselves as individuals and as a collective. She also has stated in the past that our brothers and sisters are not our enemies. Again, we have no one to look out for us but us. When you see wrong, speak on it. Intervene. The MANNIE Project is constantly reaching out to your friends and family if they are at risk, and be receptive to other people's points of view if you are feeling like violence is your only alternative. You might just save your life or the life of someone you know.

Perhaps Tiffany Tilley should run for State Representative in 2008. I mean she was not just my former co-host on Black Slate radio but she was born right out of this network into leadership. Do not hate on the sister for her efforts. There is more up her sleeve sostay tuned.

Who else will be born from this network?

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