As one who has lived through the major historic moments of the 20th century, including the Jim Crow chapter of the Civil Rights Era, my hopes and aspirations for black people have been those of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. I, too, want us to be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. But in recent weeks, the actions of young black people going downtown and acting completely ignorant has made it hard to not look at the color of their skin because of the content of their character!

Traveling in packs, attacking innocent people who are walking down the street, pepper spraying people to rob them, attempting to carjack by either bumping rear bumpers or simply threatening them with and without weapons, fighting among themselves, and worst of all, a group of females twerking on top of a police vehicle. 

How I wish I could sit those females down and show them all the indignations their grandmothers and great-grandmothers went through not to be viewed as sexual objects, only to have them to turn around and behave in an undignified manner that set many of the accomplishments we have achieved back several paces.

One would think with the black political leadership we have in the state, there would be a task force created to address the root causes of a lot of this behavior. We have a Black lieutenant governor, a Black attorney general, a Black Cook County board president, a Black mayor, a Black police superintendent, a Black head of CPS, but instead of focusing on how Black folks can achieve further, we have a certain segment of the community that seems hell-bent on continuing to become part of the criminal Justice system — as inmates!

What is even more disturbing is that Black political leadership is so quiet on the issue, as if their silence were itself a solution. Why is that?

At some point there’s going to be a breaking point and when it happens, I sure don’t want to see the parents on TV professing how good their children are. Even religious leadership has been silent. I think back to Rev. Meeks going out of his way to make Roseland a dry community, and it still hasn’t solved the issue. Where is Rev. Meeks today? Quieter than the church mouse! 

Where is the leadership with solutions? Even if “A” doesn’t work, what about B, C or D? As I drive around the city, I see nothing but Help Wanted signs. So the excuse of the past that lack of jobs was part of the problem, cannot be the truth because there are a plethora of jobs available.

Then there are the news reports about those who have previously been charged with a gun crime, let out on bail, and now they’re back in court with another case. When do we take seriously gun crimes, and use the power of everything we have to rain it down on these criminals? Why are we tolerating bad behavior as if tolerance is going to change the spots on that leopard?

It is time our Black leadership band together to become the Black law and order group. Because until we take a stance against this wave of criminal activity, it is a mass that will only grow bigger.