I have been spending a lot of time at the Homan Square Community Center in the Chicago neighborhood of Lawndale. On Sunday, I was sitting in an auditorium that was filled with African American men and children listening to an anti-drug presentation that was part of a basketball camp being sponsored by 3rd Gear Youth Leadership Foundation.
Among the speakers was Linton Johnson, who grew up in the Lawndale neighborhood and now plays basketball in the NBA for the New Orleans Hornets. He founded the organization with the intent to give something back to his community. 3rd Gear’s camp is not all about basketball. The first three days has classes in life skills, finance, nutrition and etiquette. The second three days are all about basketball.
As I looked around the auditorium during a very poignant speech by Jason Little, an astute gentleman who was lucky enough to survive (and walk) after being shot seven times, I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of African American men that were there to support the efforts of the foundation. Some of them were volunteers and some were presenters. I sat there incredulously wondering why this event wasn’t being covered by the press.
So many negative things are said about African American men, and it was disturbing to me that no one knew about what was going on this afternoon in Lawndale. The press needs to do a better job of covering events where so many are working hard within their communities to help children make the right choices in life.
It seems as if the media ignores or overlooks the positive things happening in our communities, and instead media-types would rather cover sensational news items about African-American men. These stories only serve to perpetuate negative stereotypes.
So the next time anyone is looking for a good story, look within the communities of Chicago that have the lowest income and highest crime. Find those individuals who are making a difference and dedicating their lives to change.