Fed up with the level of senseless gun violence that is happening in many Black communities across the nation, Minister Louis Farrakhan (pictured center, in tan suit), in a speech entitled “Stop the Killing,” told a crowd of nearly 200 that Blacks must take responsibility for the gun violence in their communities, according to the NY Daily News.
On Monday, Farrakhan spoke with Brownsville, Brooklyn, residents about the ongoing gun violence in their community and asked if they were aware of who the prisons are for in this country:
“They are building prisons, and who are they for? Not for the White man,” Farrakhan said. “Nobody cares about you. You are the product of your former slave masters. You are not as bad as you are acting.
“Your people are being herded into a lifestyle that is going to jail.”
Then Farrakhan made the point that even though Blacks aren’t in the position to actually manufacture guns, obviously, that hasn’t stopped us from owning and using them to our detriment, “You ain’t manufacturing no guns, but you got some.”
In Brownsville, just a day before, 15-year-old Shaheed Villanueva was shot in the back, after four armed men reportedly drove up and then fired off at least three rounds in broad daylight. Villanueva, who had been visiting a friend, is in critical condition.
And obviously, this violence isn’t just happening in Brooklyn.
In Farrakhan’s home city of Chicago, 14-year-old Dajae Coleman (pictured above), an honor’s student and basketball star, was gunned down this past Saturday as he walked home from a birthday party. His heartbroken father, Richard Coleman, said that he couldn’t tell his son, who has always done well, to stay home:
“How you gonna tell a kid with good grades, star basketball player, ‘No, you can’t go out?’ The last thing he said to me was, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna call you, Dad.’ [He] never called.”
And in New Orleans on Sunday, two gunman kicked the door down, passing two 4-year-old girls who were asleep in front of the TV, and shot their mother’s boyfriend, Jason Alexander, in the head, killing him instantly.
And all of this violence is in just three cities over a single weekend.
In July, Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam sprung in to action, after violence in Chicago had already broken annual homicide records mid-year. At the time, Farrakhan, who is 80 years old, announced that he was taking his anti-violence efforts to the streets:
When the Nation of Islam was strong, we were in the streets and when we were in the streets, the violence—we had it—but it was not like it is today, so Brother Farrakhan is going to lead the Fruit of Islam in to the streets. We are going to help our people. We have to take our teaching and our example to our people.
It is a tremendous tragedy and a scourge on our community that after we have suffered so much from so many, for so long, that we would become the worst enemies of self. This is grievous. We are filled with self-hatred and I have to say to us as parents, we took our eyes off the prize, he added.
In reaction, many residents have embraced Farrakhan’s efforts both in his city and beyond. In Brooklyn, 23-year-old Charles Bemore applauded the minister for his work, “Farrakhan is telling us what we need to hear. We need to focus on seeing each other as brothers, not enemies. He’s the leader we need. He speaks the truth.”
With so much work to do, Farrakhan told the press that his next stop was Queens, “I’m on my way to Queens, because there are some killings going on over there,” he said.
While the power of one can indeed change the lives of many, clearly, Farrakhan can’t stop gun violence alone. It is going to take varying ages, faiths, and communities to change the mentality of the youth in this nation from one of destruction and hate to one of productivity and love.