The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, in a reasserted national effort during this summer is going to reach out to 1,000,000 black males with a simple message, to stop with the killing and return to church. This effort will begin on July 17th. Each of our congregation will determine whatever methodology they need to employ to fulfill this directive. This will not be a cookie cutter approach but a creative one. The reason for this special effort to highlight black on black crime, is the extraordinary statistics that are emerging in inner-city poor neighborhoods that is about to engulf the Black community like it never has before. The Church needs a robust response to counter this surge of violence. We clearly understand that this resurgence of violence is due to a variety of sociological and economic factors. The Obama Administration and past Republican Administration’s approach has ignored these factors and it has gotten worse every single year. No one can argue that this is not the case.
According to William Julius Wilson, a Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University and past President of the American Sociological Association, “The nation’s consciousness has been raised by the repeated acts of police brutality against blacks. But the problem of public space violence—seen in the extraordinary distress, trauma and pain many poor inner-city families experience following the killing of a family member or close relative—also deserves our special attention.”
The Black Church hears Professor Wilson’s appeal, and we are responding. There is no other public institution, especially the National Black Church Initiative and its 34,000 members who are at the front line of understanding this traumatic violent impact that it has had on the community. My Brother’s Keeper, which is a half-hearted effort by the Obama Administration that does not include any federal funds, is not only weak but amounts to putting a Band-Aid on a gushing wound that has been open for the past 2 years, just as an example. Let me explain, according to the Brookings Institute and others.
These two statistical data clearly illustrates an emergency response to this crisis. The data says that between 2011-2013 35,000 African Americans died as a result of gun violence and 90% of those lost were young African American males. Whereby whites have an astonishing 80% suicide rate, 90% of young Black males die from gun violence. Chicago’s murder rate soars 72% in 2016; shootings up more than 88%. The deadliest year in Baltimore history ends with 344 homicides. Murder is up 27.5% in Los Angeles in 2016 — so far. Our crime research reveals the 30 cities in America with the highest number of murders per 1,000 residents. Murder is the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another. We limited our research to cities with 25,000 or more people. Data used for this research are 1) the number of murders reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and 2) the population of each city. 30: Chicago Heights, IL 29: Baton Rouge, LA, 28: Buffalo, NY, 27: Hattiesburg, MS, 26: East Chicago, IN, 25: Birmingham, AL, 24: Desert Hot Springs, CA, 23: Compton, CA. Something is wrong in our nation concerning our young males both black and white and we need to get to the bottom of it.
We clearly understand that by confronting these young people with the word of God we may not necessarily persuade them to change their ways but no one cannot say that the Church is not willing to make an effort here. We have been willing to work with any local State and federal entities but we reiterate the resources needed to help the social and economic factors that place black males in these types of situations is still (nowhere to be found) and the Black Church is in a place to get it done. Nonetheless, the Black Church is on the front lines of this crisis and also has been and will be the immediate victim of this gun crisis in the City. No one can forget what Dylann Roof did at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church a year ago to date in Charleston South Carolina. Let me prove my argument here in a dramatic way.
The Obama Administration has been in power for the past 8 years. Can anybody point out what comprehensive program has been offered by this Administration that includes but is not limited to reducing youth unemployment rates, offering comprehensive psychological services, creating inner-city jobs, consolidating families and communities and is willing to spend over a billion dollars to get the job done. When you piece together the Government program that he has proposed and not yet funded you can blame it on the Republicans but it is Black people who are catching the hell and dying because of the ineffective politics that is at play.
You cannot name me any systematic program like this because none exists. This administration has never had the will, the fortitude or the commitment to Black males to arrest this growing problem/cancer that has threatened to burn down the entire Black community with this violence. This is why the Church beginning July 17th will send our members out across this country and every community, specifically asking young Black males especially to turn from their violent ways and come back to Christ Jesus.
At the same time the Black Church, will not from this moment on, tolerate violence against our girls and women anymore. We will not tolerate the arbitrary killing and violence against our young mothers, wives and sisters. The recent case of actor Michael Jace clearly highlights the ongoing problem of black males killing black women. This must stop. And it must stop now. Actor Michael Jace, who played a police officer on the hit FX drama “The Shield,” was convicted Tuesday of shooting his wife at their Los Angeles home in front of the couple’s two young sons.
A jury of six women and six men deliberated about two hours before finding Jace, 53, guilty of second-degree murder in the May 19, 2014, death of April Jace, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Jurors also found true the special allegation that Jace used a firearm. Jace received up to 40 years to life in prison for this crime.
Domestic violence is a crime that cuts a painful swath across all races, socioeconomic levels and cultures. But experts in the field say that one set of victims — black women — is at a far greater risk to experience the grimmest of all domestic violence statistics: They are about three times more likely to die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner than members of other racial groups. Intimate-partner homicide is also among the leading causes of death for black women ages 15 to 35. The Black Church confesses that this must stop.
And, the experts add, their plight may not change anytime soon because of complex underlying causes that in some cases stretch back generations: unemployment, poverty, lack of education, incarceration and violent environments.
According to the Violence Policy Center, “The disproportionate burden of fatal and nonfatal violence borne by black women has almost always been overshadowed by the toll violence has taken on black men. In 2000, black women were murdered at a rate more than three times higher than white women: 3.18 per 100,000 versus 1.01 per 100,000. In single female victim/single male offender homicides reported for 2000, 10 percent of the black victims were less than 18 years old (60 victims) and five percent were 65 years of age or older (27 victims). The average age of black female homicide victims was 33 years old.
Compared to a black man, a black woman is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger. More than 10 times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (492 victims) than were killed by male strangers (48 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2000. Of black victims who knew their offenders, 54 percent (267 out of 492) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Ninety-five percent (575 out of 603) of the homicides of black women where the race of the male offender was known were intra-racial.”
The Black Church must commit itself over the next 5 years starting immediately, to offer classes in non-violent conflict resolution relations. We must get at the heart of this problem, of what makes African American men so angry that they are willing to kill our women, children and sisters. We cannot stand it any longer, we must act. This is why we are reaching out to all Black males this summer, starting on July 17th.
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public. Our methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science.
NBCI’s purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.