When the fight against gun violence is personal
And I’ve been talking to a lot of young brothers lately. Through ManUpPHL’s Listening to the Streets program, I’ve learned that gun violence has become embedded in some of our communities. I’ve learned that the cycle of shooting and vengeance is firmly in place. And I’ve learned that as much as some of our young brothers might want to change, they’re deeply invested in a culture that could cost them their lives.
But I’ve also been reminded of something I learned a long time ago in my own life. People don’t change overnight. Circumstances don’t change in an instant. And sometimes, we’re so tightly connected to the things that are killing us, we begin to think those things are keeping us alive. For me, it was drug using. For others, it’s drug dealing. Still others are the griots who tell the sordid stories of the streets.
And when you’re stuck between right and wrong, between life and death, it’s so hard to see that sometimes you stop trying, and you hold on to the darkness, and it drowns you.