O.B.A.M.A. Now most folks looking at that word would assume it’s just the last name of our president-elect. Jan. 20, 2009 will not only be my speed limit birthday (55), it will also be the day President Barack Obama is officially sworn into office.
As I was thinking about how President Obama and I will share a momentous day that will go down in history, it would be nice if the day was also officially known from that day forward as O.B.A.M.A. Day. O.B.A.M.A. stands for Our Brothers Aren’t Murdering Anymore.
One thing the black community can do as its tribute to a president who looks like us is to end the murders that occur daily in our community. If we can cut the murder rate in our community to zero, we can honor him and his presidency. As a community, we cannot ask a leader to take us on a journey if we are not willing to take a stand and prepare for that journey. And a major part of that preparation is to respect life and not make the journey any harder than it needs be.
Every day one only has to read the headlines in most local papers to learn of the carnage going on across this country-from Los Angeles to New York, Chicago to Miami, New Orleans to Houston, we are a country whose young men are being killed off one at a time by other young men. We are losing our future, our civility and our culture to a devil known as “senseless murders.” Plus “brothers” are not just limited to black men. “Brothers” are all men-white, Asians and Hispanics alike.
I’d like to see the O.B.A.M.A. Day initiative take off right here in Chicago. Because of the world-wide interest in our 44th president, Chicago could become an even greater tourist attraction. But the black community, which needs to benefit the most from an Obama presidency, may lose out if people are scared to death when they read and watch stories of shooting and mayhem occurring on our streets. Just this past weekend, a young teenage mother was shot in the neck leaving a party just a mile from Obama’s house.
Over the next six weeks, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, each and every one of us will see or hear from family members. It is time for each of us to be pro-active in talking with our young people regarding conflict resolution, gang violence and gun violence. And talking with them should be an ongoing conversation and not just a single question or comment.
We need to end that hideous practice of “no snitching.” To date within the black community, we have at least three killers still walking the streets among us. First is the killer who shot the women at the Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park; next we have the killer who brutally stabbed and murdered 9-year-old Mya Lyons; and the killers who murdered the family members of Jennifer Hudson. Those individuals will be at someone’s house for Thanksgiving and will be buying or wanting presents for Christmas. Someone, somewhere knows who the people are who committed those murders and should drop a dime on the crime.
Those individuals who committed the aforementioned crimes are the poster children for why we need an O.B.A.M.A. Day.