*(Via NNPA) – As cities across the country have mobilized massive street protests over police violence and misconduct, a familiar question has been raised by their opponents: Why does violence within the Black community garner less concern than police violence?
According to crowd-sourced database, Mapping Police Violence, 304 Black people died at the hands of police last year, 101 of them unarmed. But Black offenders were responsible for 90 percent of the nearly 2,500 Black homicide victims in 2013, according to data compiled by the FBI. Between 2002 and 2011, the homicide rate was 6.3 times higher for Blacks than Whites.
Detroit-based community organizer, Yusef Shakur is on a personal mission to end the community violence he once perpetrated. By the age of 19, he had co-founded a gang and was given up to 15 years in prison, where he met his father for the first time. Through positive guidance from his father and a personal decision to do better, Shakur left prison determined to repay his debt directly to his community.
“Urban environments are like a dried-up lake; so people turn on each other out of survival. They don’t know what they’re doing is out of hatred and anger, they take it out on the person that’s next to them, because they don’t know how to take it out on the people downtown in the City Council building,” he says. “They don’t know how to articulate themselves…how to organize a boycott, so you take it out on other folks. Throw in drugs, lack of education, guns all those things are a recipe for genocide.”
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