Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's Take A Stand

Cierra Gibson
MLK High School 11th Grade Student

Stop and listen, we are supposed to be the future leaders now and forever, not the future killers or drug dealers. We listen to these rappers and that say all these things in their raps about where they live. Did they really grow up in the hood, or were they raised in working parents? They have money and live in big mansions., but they portray themselves as violent criminals. Yes, some glorify committing crimes, but the ones that do commit crime, sometimes get away with it because they have money. Some don’t and have to serve time in jail. Some individuals sometimes think that they can get away with crimes from watching videos, but when someone in the community commits a crime they will more than likely service time in prison. When celebrity rappers get shot, the police hurry up and try to find out who shot them, but the average individual has to wait to find out.

I am here to tell you to stop and think before you commit a crime. Do you say to yourself, “what will happen to me if I do this?” Can I do the time if I get caught doing the crime? Is this a good decision and who am I hurting and why. I am tired of hearing about people dying and getting hurt with weapons because they had a conflict earlier or shot someone for no apparent reason or possibly been in the wrong place at the wrong time. As the lyrics to a song say, “We are supposed to make a brighter day.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the people that marched with him did not use violence to show their opinion, they used words. That’s what we suppose to do, show with words not weapons

Crime Prevention-Raise Your Child

Myleatta Wilson
Osborn University High School

“Posted: 11:26 a.m. Aug. 19, 2009
Eastpointe ordinance targets parental duties
Parents or guardians who fail to supervise children age 17 and younger could be charged with a misdemeanor offense under a parental responsibility ordinance unanimously adopted Tuesday by Eastpointe City Council.
Many communities in metro Detroit already have similar ordinances on the books. It is intended to establish parental duties in preventing children from committing delinquent acts.
According to the ordinance, it is the duty of parents or guardians to keep illegal drugs and firearms out of the home and legal firearms locked up; know the city’s curfew law; arrange for proper supervision of children when they are not home; prevent children from destroying property, and forbidding children to keep stolen property, illegal firearms or drugs.
If convicted, parents or guardians face up to 30 days in jail for the first offense and up to 93 days for the second and subsequent offenses. The fine in both cases is up to $500, Councilwoman Wendy Richardson said.
The council has been talking about the ordinance for nearly three months and introduced it Aug. 11. Richardson said the ordinance is not as much of a punishment to parents as it is to “reinforce the responsibility of parents to parent.”
She said the council asked for a report in a year to determine how often the ordinance was used.
Contact CHRISTINA HALL: 586-826-7265 or”

Its only a matter of time before Detroit starts to pick up on this ordinance that has been developed in Eastpointe to make sure parents fulfill their parental duties as far as knowing what their children are involved in. This is the beginning of something that’s going to change the outlook on the activities that youth partake in when their not with their parents. Too bad their not going to be too happy about it.

It’s all about trust when it comes to a child or teen being able to do what they want to while on their own. But when the child goes as far as getting into trouble that involves a crime, things start to change for the better, thus the ordinance being introduced. I’m happy to know that someone has finally made the intitiative to put the heat not only on the children but the parents as well. The child had to get the behavior from somewhere, and with proper monitoring I never think tat child would do something so serious as a crime in front of their parents.

We have to understand the importance of parental guidance. The youth committing crimes are being rasied by the streets and with that being said, how much longer are we going to shake our heads at the issue of the missing parents? Yes they are missing, and even though we are less than likely to get into the issues of someone else and especially their children, it should be our duty as a community in Detroit to start taking advantage of the responsibilty of making sure the children in the community stay out of trouble just as well as the parents should. It takes a village to raise a child, so my question is this- are these the kind of chidren we would really raise in our household? Are these the children, the ones who commit crimes, the ones we want our children to bring home as far as when their ready to date? People, we must understand that we are a product of our own surroundings and to be honest I'm sick of being labeled as another statistic.

Leaders Of Our Time

Dimitris Yang
Warren Woods Tower High School

Through my life there have been countless people who has come and gone. Many of whom influenced me greatly in positive ways, teaching me things that can open the doors to new opportunities in life. As we can see, there are exceedingly more negative influences than there are positive. So therefore it’s easier to notice bad things. There is so much negative influence in the world that people have come to accept it as a way of life.

One individual that I believe is a perfect example of a positive influence is Ronald Norwood. He is one who takes care of business. He’s just one of that people who comes through and leaves an impact upon everyone surrounding him. I look at him as an older brother, although I’m 10 days older than he is. Ron helped me see life in a different perspective. As he left for college to chase his dreams of becoming someone great and unforgettable, I thanked him for his encouragement and empowerment he has passed on to me.

We, as the Youth Initiatives Project need more young leaders like Ronald Norwood. Instead of looking up to negative role models in the media, our future generation should really be looking up to none other than the leaders of their communities. I commend Ron for making great use of his God-given gift to encourage all young people to become leaders. I wish Ron the very best, and may God continue to pour blessings upon him as he strives for the future.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Live, Learn & Teach

Pao Kia Yang
Osborn University High School

You see cars pulling over to the far right of the road as the siren of a police car echoes behind them. Everyday these law enforcement officers put their lives at risk to save the people who they service; us. They get up for work knowing that on a regular day like this may be their last. They work hard to make sure we get the help and safety we need. Putting your life at risk is like pushing yourself near the edge of the cliff, yet some police officers do it anyway. It is their passion to do this for a good cause, while others do it for pride.
There is a difference between pride and passion. Passion is when you do something that’ll benefit others and yourself, while pride is something you do to benefit only yourself. Pride and passion is as different as putting your life at risk of being a police officer and a gang member. Gangs have increased rapidly from streets to inside schools. Children from as young as 12 have signed their own life to such pride of joining gangs. They kill and die over the pettiest thing. Some of which survived, are being haunted by memories of sin or by the decease one’s family and friends. Is it worth dying over a bag of weed that’ll soon sink in and destroy your body’s system? Is it worth killing someone over a chain that you soon found out was not made out of real gold? Is it worth throwing away your future by spending life in prison?
We youth need to come to a realization of throwing away our lives over things like this. You need to be able to look after yourself and think outside of the box. You want to be protected? Well, don’t depend on your gang to be your shield. They won’t help you pay for the money you owe someone else, nor would they help you overcome fear of defining your path. Learn to protect yourself by not exposing yourself to such pity. When you learn to do so, it’ll open many opportunities to your younger siblings, peers and anyone else who follows. Take advantage of positive things that are handed to you, such as education. Further your future, because life is too short and too precious to die for making stupid decisions. Live, learn and teach…to the fullest.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Open Your Eyes: Enough Is Enough

Ashley Brown
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School

Anger fills me when I think how often I receive phone calls telling me that I will have to attend another peer’s funeral due to the act of gun violence. Not to mention, I’m over whelmed with sadness when I look through my wardrobe and notice that I own too many t-shirts with pictures of my friends on the back, labeled “rest in peace.” Because of these facts, I become enraged that people find the time to take someone else’s life. I become furious when someone doesn’t realize the value of the life they are taking. Do you know the value of a brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, and loved one?

Many people need to understand that a gun is not the answer to their problems. The state of mind that comes with receiving a gun illegally is that you buy it for protection. You obtain a gun for power, and you use it for respect. Did you ever notice that you lose your self in the process, not thinking of the consequences or the ones you will hurt? For one life that is taken; many lives are breaking down with sadness and pain.

Someone has to stand up against gun violence. And when I say “someone” I mean many because there is strength in numbers. You have to understand that the longer we sit back in our communities and let violence invade it, break down our families and take the lives of the ones we love, the more it will happen. We have to show that we are angry, and that we will no longer protect the thugs of Detroit. The code of not snitching epidemic has gone too far. We are letting murderers run free through our neighborhoods. We are letting the enemy sleep in our own guest rooms.
Think of that the next time you think of purchasing an illegal fire-arm. Think of what you are doing to your community the next time you choose to use it. There have been more than 200 homicides due to gun violence in the city this year and Detroit is on pace for 450 by end of the year. We cannot afford to lose any one else to gun violence. Guns are not the answer, and killing does nothing but make more problems. Please wake up! Become enraged and fight back for justice in the city of a Detroit.

Protest Gun Violence

Myleatta Wilson
Osborn University High School

Small protest targets violence in Detroit
A group of mostly young people fed up with the toll of gun violence on Detroit took to the streets to protest today on the city’s east side.
Many of the youths work with Detroit’s Neighborhood Service Organization on programs aimed at preventing gun violence, substance abuse and other social ills among young people and were stunned to learn that the brutality had hit close to home.
A 15-year-old girl involved with the NSO’s youth initiatives program lost her 19-year-old brother to gunfire Saturday in Detroit, said Tavarus Lewis, 17, a peer educator in the program. The girl lives a couple of blocks from where the group was protesting.
“We’re out here supporting her and trying to stop the gun violence in the community,” Lewis said as he and others held up signs and drivers passing by honked their horns on Mack Avenue near Yorkshire.
“We’re all pretty close,” Lewis said of the young people in the NSO group. “When we promote for it not to happen and it happens, it hurts.”
“This happened to someone close to us, so we were shocked and saddened,” added Gaoia Vang, 17, also a youth program peer educator. “It sucks. It totally sucks.”
The protest came after a 13-year-old girl in a separate incident was shot in the head in an altercation when a group of people in a car threw gang taunts and then opened fire on about four or five friends walking near 7 Mile and Ryan in Detroit on Wednesday night.
Detroit Police said they were still investigating the shooting, and the girl was in critical condition today at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
Protester Tyrone Owens, 49, of Harper Woods said he was there to stand up against gun violence that’s sending a chill through the city.“It’s very shocking and it’s senseless,” Owens said. “It’s got to stop.”

They Aren’t Going Anywhere

Ladies and Gentlemen of Detroit, this is just the beginning. Over the past several weeks NSO’s Youth Initiatives Project has been protesting against gun violence in our community. There is no need to be silent anymore, and through our protesting on main streets such as Gratiot and Van Dyke, the honks of many supporters’ shows that were not alone.

I want to express how important the participation of the community is and what steps we need to take in order to make our community a safer environment to live in. It is no longer safe to walk down the street. It is no longer safe to go to the park. It is no longer safe to visit the local store. What is our community coming to? I hate being restricted of something just because someone isn’t responsible enough to know that children are in the area. Gun violence is killing my peers, but in the place of my fallen peers, I will overcome the statistics of being the next victim.

I will take the stand in my community of educating others on the effects of not making sure a crime is being prevented. I will educate my community on the importance of staying in school and obtaining an education that will enable them to go to heights above the street corner or the gas station. Community, it’s time for you to start doing the same. Knowledge is the key to success, and in order to successfully overcome gun violence we must overlook turning the other cheek to what we know is wrong and start facing it straight forward. I am urging you as a community to take back your community and help us not only as neighbors but as family to protest against gun violence in the community. Honk your horns when you see our signs, they aren’t going anywhere.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gun Violence In the New World

Mariama McGhee
UPREP High School

Gun violence is now a deadly, chaotic form of violence. Lots of people don’t know where it came from or are confused about why the youth made it into such a popular mascot of daily troubles. Gun violence has become so admired that kids no younger then fifteen are using it as an excuse to make themselves feel safer when walking down the school hallways. They understand that the weapons they carry are very unmerciful towards the victims. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child, elder, or teen.

I was never raised around such atrocities but the people I know have been through it their entire lives. Their mostly friends, family, or mentors and the images from that old incident will never leave their memories. Gun violence is an ugly monster that will never leave their minds and what’s worse is that the youth who have been through it…see it as a daily lifestyle in which they have adopted. I had friend whose family members have started training the youngsters in the community on how to load a gun and how to shoot. My friend said that it was to help the children defend themselves but I didn’t believe her.

As a concerned youth I do talk to people about the dangers of gun violence and I’m not the only one. A lot of teens are upset about the terrible change everyone has adapted to and I can’t help but worry. I want the adults to stop ignoring what’s happening in the city and to speak up along with us. I want the whole community to raise their voices against this evil. Ignorance won’t help…but our voice will.

Why Goal Setting Is Important

Ronald Norwood
AAMU “2013”

In our society today we have an emergency that’s taking the minds of many young males and females in our city. It’s an illness that doesn’t attack a particular race or gender. It doesn’t affect everyone either. It can only affect you if you have a weak sense of how your life is going to be. This illness is call a lost future with no goals.

In many cases if you walked up to a DPS student or a child on the streets, and asked them “what are your goals in life”, you would more than likely get an answer like…..I Don’t Know. Many of my males and females I service through this program have no sense of a goal or what they want to be in life. This is a huge issue not only for that person who doesn’t know what there future will hold for them. It affects me as well because they don’t know what they want in life so they may see something they want and try to take it from me. In life that’s called stilling or robbing. This is not the path we want our peers to take.

If you don’t have a goal in life how will you know where you need to be? You don’t. That means they could do something that could jeopardize there future. Things like smoking, drinking and gangs are all things that’s not going to help you become a successful person. But they want know that or think of that if they don’t have anything to stop them from doing the wrong types of things.

They have to Define there path. Webster or we can’t define it for them. But what we can do is guide them in the right direction with the challenges we have encounter in life. Every child should have a sense of an ideal on what they want for there selves in life.

We No Longer Care

GaoIa VangOsborn Graduate
MSU Freshman

These days, when we surpass we want others to fall behind. It’s now an everyman for himself kind of game. We don’t want to support, we could care less, and we have become selfish. It’s sad to know this is the cold truth about Detroit. The love that was once there has vanished and I’m afraid to say it might have disappeared forever.
We have bind and played with time for too long enough. Time is almost up and if we don’t do anything right now, the city will slowly reside into dust. Detroit has been waiting long enough for its people’s help. But yet the people wait for someone else to help them. Better yet, they want someone else to fix their city for them. Have we become that unwilling that we can’t even fix our own lives?
People abandon their homes but don’t they know they’re just hurting Detroit evens more with what they’re doing? An abandoned house, which use to be a home of memories, has now just become a space for criminals to sell drugs…a place to rape young girls. Trash fills our city’s streets and yet we walk past it like it’s supposed to belong there, next to the shattered glass.
Each day I come upon more and more memorial sites. Young people die each day due to car accidents. Just the other day, my mom and I almost got into two car accidents because the people in the other cars decided not to stop at the stop sign.
I know that Detroit has no money now. I know that most Detroiters have no jobs and no money. I know because both my parents are unemployed and relying most on the government’s aids.
But that does not explain why we have trash surrounding our streets! That does not explain why people have to set fire on their house to get that insurance money. And that especially doesn’t explain why we have so many people driving recklessly around the area. Is it ignorance or simply because the people don’t care about Detroit anymore?
For the youth, this is what they grew up in and will probably continue to see if we don’t take action. For some of the youth I’ve talked with, they don’t care about their city. They could care less about the violence that’s happening right on their streets. Because this is what they grew up with; they’ve gotten use to it
We spend so much money to clean Downtown Detroit because the attractions are there and yet nothing is being done for the rest of the city. People from outside look at our city and think we have dirty people live in it because we choose to do nothing but to live with the trash that surrounds us.
We complain and complain but that’s all that we do. We use our mouth but not are arms and feet. We continue to hope that something fortunate will come to us but hope can only take you so far. It’s a habit that must be stopped. Waiting is only making Detroit dying quicker. It’s time to finally stand up and it’s about time for us, the people, to be the one first to do something.

Speak Up Against Gun Violence

Davonna Ware
Osborn University High School

I wonder what makes teens want to carry guns around although sometimes people say they need it for protection. In the law it says you have the right to bear arms but you don’t have the right to kill peers. The federal law makes it illegal for anyone under the age 18 to have a hand gun but I think they should raise the age.. Sometimes teens buy, borrow, or even steal guns from each other and from family members. Many teens have access to guns in their homes with no trigger locks on them. Over 43% percent of house holds have at least one gun.

As a teen I truly think guns should be banned from our city. Detroit used to be called the Motor City. Now, people call it the Murder City. It hurts me because my family can’t come visit us because they always hear about somebody who got shot and killed and they don’t want to be next. I think if we worked together we can make our city better. When people argue about pointless things then go get guns. I think that’s just not responsible, especially if you are having guns talk for you. We put ourselves in danger, when we use guns to communicate.

Although people can get threatened by others, it doesn’t mean one needs to get a gun for protection. Guns are not always the answer. We should talk more. If you are in school or even at home don’t take matters into your own hands by getting a gun. Find an adult and let them know what’s going on. And if you know of someone who is under age and carrying a gun, you should let somebody older know about it. Don’t sit and stay quiet. Speak up and save somebody’s life. Make sure your voice is heard. Some people call it “snitching” but they really don’t know the real meaning between a “snitch” and a “leader”.

Last Friday one of my friends lost her brother due to gun violence and it hurt her so bad. I hurts me too, even though I didn’t know him. I think of this saying “Less Peers Brings Many Tears” every time a teen gets killed over gun violence. I told my family I’m tired of crying over my family or friends and tired of having to bury them too. I’m tired of the gun violence and wish it would end. People need to open their eyes and see that with guns your putting your family, friends, and yourself in danger. Remember three people die a day from gun violence. It really it should be 0.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rethinking Youth Activities

Myleatta Wilson
Osborn University High School

I can remember being young during the summer time and having absolutely nothing to do. I would constantly nag my mother if we could go somewhere, knowing that she was busy doing something in our home. She had told me before that she had somewhere for me to go and something for me to do but it wasn’t really something I wanted to do.

Frequently this happens all the time with almost every parent of a child that just seems to have nothing to do at home. But when the parents’ overlooks what their child truly wants to do they become upset at the actions that come about when the child falls into trouble.

The activities that children participate in when out in the streets or hanging with their friends are surly not the same as they were about three years ago. When playing outside with my friends all day my mother had strict rules on exactly what I could and could not do. There was no playing in the street. I could not go inside anyone’s house unless she was aware of me visiting, and who was going to be there. I could not leave the block for any reason, if she couldn’t see me from her kitchen window I was in trouble. Lastly, I always had to be in the house before the streetlights, if not then I was definitely in trouble.

These rules were kind of harsh to me a couple years ago, but when I finally found out why they were in place I began to quickly understand why something so simple as coming home before it was dark was so important.

Over the last couple months there have been various crimes committed in the Detroit area, most of them occurring after dark where there are little to no lighting in certain Detroit areas. As I’ve stated before my mother warned me about coming home before the streets lights come on, she stated that there are many things that go on at night that I know nothing about and should never be apart of. Many crimes are happening at night especially the gun violence crimes. It’s dark, late, and not too many people outside to view everything that’s going on.

Too many of your young teens are being taken due not just to being victims of gun violence but also to being out late. We are not sure of what exactly it is that is keeping these teens out late but for some reason they are and the results of them being out late are not acceptable. Through the teachings of my mother, there is no reason to be out late at night except if theirs an emergency. Yes it’s cool to hang out a little late with your friends but its important to understand what happens when it gets dark outside.

I feel it’s important to always give a child and especially a teen something to do at anytime of the day. Finding activities on the internet or simply giving chores to do everyday at their homes gives them no excuse to be bored.

I want to see my peers make it in today’s world so let’s take the initiative to end our teens from being victims of gun violence by giving them something to do.