Stop painting the city red: Change can, will happen

| July 9, 2013

By Marcus McGee
Special to Frost Illustrated

Editor’s note: The following is a piece outlining a pathway to stopping the violence in city streets, submitted by Brother Marcus McGee. Before presenting the actual piece entitled “I once was you,” Frost Illustrated staff thought we also would present Brother McGee’s introductory note to the letter that he sent us. 


The enclosed story is from my personal experiences and the means of the story is to uplift, not to tear anyone down. It is not intended for anyone to be forced on a religion. You must find your own rock to build your foundation on. But, build it for the greater good of humanity. GOD intended for us to live a certain way and that is through love. Our life is short-lived when we lean on our own understanding. We have to get better, we must get better, to have a productive life in harmony.

We are a peculiar people. We are unique, equipped with many talents that we have to tap into. Have faith in what you can do. Put the same energy that you put into the streets into something positive and meaningful.

There is too much violence going on. I you have children or if you don’t have children, think about how you would want them to live. Get inspired to do better. Achieve greatness. Be somebody. Do not just be what society says you are—things like “a failure,” “no good,” never amount to ‘nothing,’” “thug,” “menace,” “prostitute,” etc. We have to overcome our adversities. Get out of our comfort zone. We have to, because achievement comes from taking chances. We played suicide with our lives in the streets. So, why not try? There are only two things that will happen from making wrong choices: That’s getting killed or ending up in prison. You choose your destiny…


I once was you

How are you, ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls? I hope everything is well and you’re in good spirits. Considering the circumstances, I’m truly blessed to be alive.

Before I get started, my name is Marcus McGee. I’m born and raised in Fort Wayne. Everyone calls me McGee in the streets. But, I no longer go by that name. I’m a born again Christian, so now I prefer Marcus because all things are new and old things are passed away. I’m 34 years old, with four children.

I’ve been in and out of prison on drug charges since 2000. All together, I have served 12 years so far, including my current sentence—which, God willing, will be over in October of this year! I hope to be able to meet you guys.

I’m not proud of what I’ve done in my past, but I can tell you this: It is what I have been through that has shaped me into the man I am today. So, I’m sure if you are sitting here, you too are trying to overcome something or are going to be the solution to the problem or both. I’m still in both categories because no one’s perfect. I once was you and still am. I just reach out in ways to better myself. I don’t hold myself back from anything.

I know I can do all things, no matter what the situation—and you should too. Never limit yourself. And again, I’m not saying I have it all figured out. But, I can tell you my experience and what I do to be at peace is part of my foundation that I live on and that’s LOVE. Our purpose is to LOVE one another, even if we don’t want to. Our purpose is to serve GOD wholeheartedly.

Now, I’m not telling you to become a Christian but I’m telling you that if you want to live, then you must find your rock to build on. We can’t keep serving the streets; I used to serve the streets literally. I lived for the streets and look where it has gotten me. The only reason I am able to share my story is because of GOD’S mercy. See, we have a mission on this earth and it’s not a mission of violence. It’s a mission of LOVE.

Now men, I don’t want you to start thinking like a proud man. I’m just being frank because we men think that showing love or pouring our hearts out about what we believe is soft.

And, oh, I’m sure you’re proud of being hardcore or a thug. All of that is fine if you utilize it for the right reason. Use your energy for your passions. It won’t happen over night. It takes time. Patience is the key. Make goals and reach them and don’t stop there—keep pushing. You have to because it’s a lifelong process. Like I said, I was once you, seeking answers that I used to try to figure out on my own. But, now I have turned to GOD for answers and surrounded myself with positive people who have the same interests. We can’t keep doing the same old things, expecting different results. It won’t work. I know. I’m a witness to it.

This is my third incarceration from selling drugs. My life is on a different path and all I have is my word and I will tell you I will help in any way I can. Sacrifices are what I’m willing to make. Don’t keep going down the same path. Start new today.

Seek knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Know who you are. Study yourself and don’t lean unto your own understanding. Lean unto a spiritual understanding. You might say you don’t have a spiritual understanding and haven’t connected yet. But, I would say you have because if you’re sitting in this gathering, then something has awakened in you that is wanting out of what you were or were becoming.

We must become beacons of light shining in dark places. I know that each and everyone of you is unique. The reason I know is because all that is in scripture is true. I have studied myself and found me. I was lost in darkness, not seeing what I had become and what I was doing until, one day, I surrendered and gave my life over to GOD and accepted the LORD JESUS CHRIST as MY LORD and SAVIOR, who is the head of my life! I claim that what he says is true and will work in my life through his will.

So, whatever it is you believe in, claim it for the good of you and society and don’t be part of the problem—become part of the solution. I will tell you again, I was once you. Change can happen and will happen. You have to want it and show action and not talk about it—be about it. So, my words to you are “DO SOMETHING.”

I hope that I didn’t offend anyone. That was not my intention. But, I have to be aggressive for GOD and capture souls that are lost to Satan. GOD is the foundation of LOVE. He has no picks and chooses. He loves no matter what. I hope my outreach was heard. I’m yelling for GOD.

Don’t make life hard on yourself. Keep pushing forward and have FAITH because it’s not what you see, it is what you don’t see is where FAITH resides.

I LOVE YOU GUYS. I will write again, GOD  willing. I will see you guys in six months.

Please pay it forward telling everyone to “stop painting the city red.” Thank you! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!


This article originally appeared in the June 26 print edition.

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Category: Local, Opinion

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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