Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We Must Stop the Violence

From the Philadelphia Daily News:

It seems easy to be outraged at politicians and the police for focusing on the wrong things (like smoking bans and leases for Boy Scouts) to avoid enforcing laws and allowing guns to be bought so easily, and at educators for not teaching children enough for them to succeed.

It's even easy to express disdain for those who won't come forward with information that could take drugs, guns and killers off the street.

But only "we" can stop the violence and create an atmosphere in which responsibility, accountability and success are equal parts of an equation aimed at eliminating violence, ignorance and poverty. Instead of placing blame and pointing fingers, how about we all take that on? We are all in this together - suburbs and city. This isn't "us vs. them" - we're all affected.

What that looks like is reaching out and getting personally involved in making a difference. In the spirit of "It takes a village," become that village. Non-parents, parents and grandparents can form alliances with business and law-enforcement to open a dialogue of change - not one of where to place blame, but of what can work.

For example, build and fund centers that provide safe places for children to play and have fun (maybe get a good meal). Perhaps we could create workshops aimed at a new model of communication - one that creates a dialogue about a future that people can and want to step into rather than the current model that seems shaped toward blame.

There are dozens of organizations and agencies dedicated to everything from peace in the world, to education, to health and wellness, and more. Many need money; more need volunteers. There may even be jobs to be created or filled. Everyone needs to shift the energy and focus from anger, self-right- eousness and blame, to putting forth the energy and effort that shifts attitudes from resignation and cynicism to "we can make this work."

No one of us is as smart or as strong as all of us. In addition to asking politicians, police and teachers what they are going to do about the situation, ask yourself: What are you willing to do to create a future that works for everyone?

Dana Wickes, Glen Mills


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