A view from the other side

| August 3, 2016

By the Rev. Victor L. Nelson, LFD, EMB

I would like to begin by saying that the views and opinions I am about to express are mine alone. I write this with the hope that if there are others who feel as I do, you will help me to help others understand the suffering that our community and neighborhoods witness as a result of the senseless murders that take place here in Fort Wayne and around the country.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stated on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he saved around 7,000 to 8,000 black lives while in office. How? Please let us in on the secret so that we can emulate your genius. We would have loved to have him around during slavery. He also stated that if he was a black father concerned with his child’s safety, he would tell him to be very respectful of the police because most of them are good and some can be very bad. Just be careful… also be careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them because there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you, not the police. So in other words, Mr. Giuliani has already pre-judged our urban and inner city youth. SMH (shake my head)!

Not every child who lives in an urban neighborhood is a miscreant or a social deviant.  This is why eradicating racism is such a difficult task. I wonder what the conversation he would have with his white son would be. Maybe something like this: “Son, you’re white and you can walk or drive down any street in America without anyone automatically assuming you are bad. Help a few blacks or Hispanics along the way and that will prove that you’re not racist.”

I want to share with you the detrimental effects that young people dying violently in our community has on us all.

As a true Hoosier and resident of Fort Wayne for nearly 50 years, it is disheartening to see, year by year, we are slowly growing farther apart as a community. I guess the days of church picnics and barbeques in McMillen Park and Memorial Park for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day are far behind us. We need to give our children something to believe in. Let’s lead by example. There are more than 70 Baptist churches in, “The City of Churches,” and very rarely do we encounter them having standing room only, unless there has been a homicide involving one of our children. Let’s stand by the sides of our young people and encourage them to reach for their dreams and give them real hope again. The church has always been and hopefully will always be the stronghold of all communities.

We need to remember that our children are our biggest asset. They are our future and we need to show them that they have one. As a parent, I can’t imagine the horrifying pain that is endured when a child is lost to gun violence, or any unnatural death for that matter. Even more shocking is that for some parents and community residents, this has become the norm. There is nothing comparable to what I can only imagine the level of pain this causes.

As a funeral director, and I believe I speak for the vast majority of my colleagues that work in the funeral service industry, providing services for any family that entrusts the care of their deceased loved one to us is truly the highest honor. But, it is a painstaking task to lay to rest so many young men and women who may have had the potential to become doctors, lawyers, or as we know, even the president of the United States.

Last but not least, I ask that we as a community continue to uplift the spouses, parents, children, siblings and relatives and friends of those who have lost loved ones.

The Rev. Victor L. Nelson, LFD, EMB, is president/CEO of Nelson Memorial Gardens Inc.

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Category: Community, Crime & Safety, Local, Opinion, Spiritual Matters

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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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