By Alexander Houston
The Martin Luther King holiday is over, but we must not forget his sacrifice. The question we now should ask ourselves is “What can I do to make my community better?” This is a question that All of us should ask and then follow through. Granted, not all people will be exceptional, but we All can do our part to make a more perfect community.
We do not have to aim sky-high, but we all must aim and this will only work if everyone plays a part. We can keep our homes and properties just a little neater. We can remove the weekly circulars from our porches, for if a strong wind blows through, the litter problem increases. We can keep our lawns trimmed and even plant a few flowers. Can you imagine our community if everyone devoted just a couple of hours a week to maintaining and beautifying our neighborhoods?
And you students, as you go back and forth to school take care while on the streets. Respect the properties you pass. Do not toss it, Hold it until you see a trash can. And give way to older folk on the sidewalk, and do not be inclined to use profanity. Remember showing respect brings you respect and don’t you want to be judged by the content of your character and not the color of your skin?
And this I speak to you who have found precious few occupational options. So you have chosen to sell drugs (and this I do not condone) but do you realize the destructive nature of this choice not only to you, but to the user? And yes, I realize that many of you have resorted to this trade because of need and the desire to attain the so called “American dream”. In reality, however, you destroy that dream for yourselves and others. The homicide rate in Frankford has increased 50% in 2014 and much has been attributed to the drug trade. This is unthinkable! It is unsustainable, and there has to be a better way!
Let’s face it, the drug trade is with us. It will not go away. Too many powerful people, who live many miles away in cloistered communities, are becoming obscenely wealthy as a result. Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather novels) once wrote: behind every great wealth there is a crime or crimes. However, killing ourselves is a crime that only hurts ourselves. And must we see the many hard-working and well-meaning folk live in paralyzing fear; a fear so dreadful that they dare not report a problem even as it is playing out in front of them? Why (Mr. Dealer) must your business be so bloody? Why must it be so deadly? Why not do business amicably? You need a customer base…. and you are destroying it!
My heart especially bleeds for the progeny of these neighborhoods that are controlled by violence and fear. What examples do these children have? What opportunities will there be for them when getting off to such a rocky start? And why must the job of rearing our children fall to the grandparents? We are losing a generation, and yes there is blame enough to go round. However, are we perpetuating that decay by looking the other way? Dr. King is spinning in his grave, even now. It is time we stop following! It is time we cease these memorials of marches! It is time we become our own leaders for a new cause; the cause to stop the decay, to stop the violence, and to stop the killing. It is time we act positively and immediately! Each of us must fulfill his or her duty to our person, children, and property. Indeed, only then will we be on the path to justice and equality for all. For charity/Divine love, must begin at home and from there will spread out.. Only then will we be able to say with true conviction Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty we All are free at last!
Alexander Houston is a relatively recent transplant to the Frankford area. He has lived in the community for nearly 10 years. He has taught English at a nearby private high school for 19 years. The only thing he dislikes about his place of employment is the exclusivity of the place. He says,”I just wish more children could get the education and care these children receive.” Mr Houston has seen some improvements in the Frankford neighborhood and longs to see more. He believes more must be done collectively. He also thinks that parents play an important role in future improvements and the vitality of our community.