The front lines

August 15, 2014

There continues to be a lot of talk about what to do about the senseless violence that continues to occur in every large city in America. Each day there is an act of violence that makes no sense at all. And nearly every week we hear the same conversations regardless of who is talking– an elected official, community leader, business owner or local resident – – about stopping the violence. If fact, we have all heard the messages … the same spill… seen the same press conferences, participated in the rallies, walks and prayer vigils… however and at the end of the day… we continue to hear and witness more shootings and deaths.
In far too many cases our responses continue to be the same…is it because we do not know of any other responses to give? Perhaps we feel just as helpless as others and we need to participate in things to help us cope and to deal with our own emotional pain. Perhaps it helps us to feel good about ourselves… to be with others and supporting those families that are dealing with grief and loss, or because we too have experienced the same reality. Or could it be that it is a way of saying something to be heard and to be seen doing something that shines a spotlight on the situation?
No doubt about it … there is a lot at stake… there is a lot riding on reducing the violence in our city. It makes economic sense, it makes political sense, it makes community sense and it makes common sense. Of course we know that deep down inside, the solutions to the problems of our community are more complex than they appear. It’s more than about jobs, it’s more than about economic mobility; it’s more than about political opportunity…it is about humanity, wealth of a great nation and its people. The question, then is who is listening… are we just preaching to the choir? … And do we really care about what is happening?
Perhaps we are looking at the wrong end of things and not fully understanding the meaning of what is occurring and what can be done to turn things around. It is amazing that you hear requests to be on the “front lines” and help get the word out on stopping the violence… participate in this community forum… a rally for that… a walk in this neighborhood… so on and so forth. But rarely do you hear requests about joining in on the other front lines of our community; i.e., planning, employment, housing, economic development, health care, commissions… you get the picture. Do ask me to take a look at the picture that has already been sketched and painted… allow me the opportunity to draw and paint the picture for myself. The outcomes could be totally different. Do we really understand what the front lines are about? Or do we know where the front lines are?
Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at, Twitter #AC53, or call 414-571-5015. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee.