Maria Lloyd: Politicians Remain Silent On Gun Control As Black Children Continue To Die
by Maria Lloyd
After reading the story of 17-year-old Jalen Stogner, who was shot and killed in front of his mother and his 4- and 11-year-old brothers at a laundromat in Chicago on Friday, I became angry. Not only am I angry with the killer, the rough neighborhood in which the victim was raised, and the continued black-on-black crime; I am angry with the entire black community for allowing politicians to remain silent on gun control as our children die in our own yards.
In 2008 and 2009, black teens were only 15% of the child population, but were 45% of the total fatal gun deaths. Although I voted and worked for President Barack Obama, I am questioning his administration’s continued silence on the gun violence that is plaguing Chicago, the city in which he and First Lady Michelle Obama call home, and other cities throughout the nation. Rev. Ira Acree, of Greater St. John Bible Church in crime-ridden Chicago, notices the silence on gun violence from political parties. “People are being gunned down. Nobody’s talking about it. But both parties want our votes,” he said.
Here’s my question: Is the issue of black children dying across the nation not worth tackling?
President Obama briefly touched on gun laws following the Trayvon Martin tragedy, stating when a tragedy such as this occurs “… that means we examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.” Although Florida’s “stand your ground” law is implemented at the state level, there hasn’t been a major push from the Obama Administration on the federal level to change gun laws. In 2009, black boys between the ages of 15-19 were eight times more likely than white boys to be killed in a gun homicide. How does an administration manage to ignore such a startling statistic?
Even more startling is that gun homicide was the leading cause of death among black teens (ages 15-19) in 2009. The statistics serve as a reminder that Black America should no longer endure the pain of gun violence in silence. As with the mass incarceration of black men, we continue to allow issues that directly plague our community to be swept under politicians’ rugs. People have suggested that Black America take matters into our own hands as Minister Farrakhan is doing in Chicago, and others have suggested we challenge politicians (as I am recommending) to become more concerned with our issues. I’m not opposed to executing the aforementioned solutions in combination as long as it will ensure that children won’t have to fear getting shot while playing at the park or while selling lemonade outside their home. If being labeled as an “angry black woman” or an “angry black man” is what we have to be to get politicians to care about our children, we need to embrace the titles with pride.