On numerous occasions we have
talked about, and expressed our concerns about the senseless
violence committed by our youths to our youths, which is
seriously plaguing our communities and cities.
Unfortunately, this problem is growing and we have really found
no solutions to stopping the violence, which has left us
weary. However, for some time now we have been observing a
local organization whose mission is to motivate and mobilize
communities to take a proactive approach to reducing homicides
and the senseless violence occurring in our cities. This
Organization is called "ROOT" (Reaching Out To Others
Together), and it is founded by Mr. Kenneth E. Barnes, Sr., MS, as a
result of the death of his son by gun violence in September
2001. Mr. Barnes son was killed by a 17-year old
youth in a robbery attempt. The youth was later found to
have committed at least two other murders for which the
authorities were aware. Since that time, Mr. Barnes has
advocated to lawmakers, community leaders, provider
organizations and others his message of taking proactive
measures rather than reactionary methods to reducing gun
violence and increasing incidents of youth violence taking place
in communities throughout America today.
Actually, the loss of Mr.
Barnes son (Kenneth E. Barnes, Jr.) lingers in my mind so
clearly, because I had become a customer of Mr. Barnes, Jr.,
months before his life was taken. Mr. Barnes, Jr. had a
very nice apparel shop located in the "U" Street
District - NW Washington DC, and on numerous occasions I visited
his shop and purchased many items. Mr. Barnes Jr.'s death
came as a surprise to me and it was very disturbing, because the
area his shop was located is nice, and he too was a very nice
gentleman. Of course folks were talking and coming up with
some crazy theories, but Mr. Barnes Sr. was very vocal about his
tragic loss, and did everything in his power to bring awareness
to gun violence, stating "Too many lives are being
lost; too many victims injured, and too many communities are
being held hostage to this systemic and endemic tide of
violence. As a government, and as a community, we must
begin to offer proactive, rather than reactive, alternatives."
Currently Mr Barnes, Sr. Organization ROOT is forming a National
Coalition/movement to address the epidemic of gun violence
occurring in our cities daily and to urge Congressional
intervention in the form of hearings to bring the epidemic of
gun violence to the forefront of national awareness and
discussions. Actually, this week on July 26th, he was a
guest speaker at the prestigious Rotary Club of Friendship
Heights located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, talking about his
mission and goals.
If you would like to pull your
community together to help bring awareness of gun violence and
to find a solution to stopping it, you will need to get in touch
with Mr. Barnes, Sr. His Organization is located at 811
Florida Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20011 and his Office phone
# is (202) 332-ROOT/Toll Free (866) 570-ROOT, Fax # is (202)
332-8250. Log on to his site to get more details at www.rootinc.org
or drop him an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to let him know that we at Arious directed you to
This week I also got a very
informative and important e-mail that I thought I should share
with you. After reading it I felt I should pass it
on. Notice that this e-mail indicates the writer/sender is
Susan L. Taylor of
Essence Magazine which discusses and focuses on the State of
Louisiana (the 2nd year anniversary is approaching after
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the state). Bear in
mind, that we are always careful of the things we send out
(being that so much is distributed on the internet) and felt we needed to confirm
the writer, but due to time constraints we were unable to
confirm. However, after "digging" further I was
pleased with my findings and felt this must be shared with all
on our on-line community. Our brothers and sisters in
Louisiana needs us and needs our help!!! We need to bring
awareness to their situation especially since it's approaching 2
years after this disaster. It is awful and shameful that
here in America, so many are still living in such bad conditions
and something must be done to correct this problem. Please
read the below and feel free to pass on.
written by Susan L. Taylor of Essence Magazine
back from the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, which was a
grand success, contributed more than $120 million to the city
and raised the hope and
spirits of our people throughout the region. While there,
Tommy Dortch and I, our spouses Carole Dortch and Khephra Burns,
Marcia and Michael Eric Dyson and PR guru Terrie Williams met
privately with Mayor Ray Nagin about the deplorable and shameful conditions that the people of New
Orleans and the
Gulf Coast region are still suffering under, the obstacles the
mayor has faced in trying to marshal resources for the recovery
and the actions we all can and must take on August 29, the
second anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
There must be a national outcry, a day of outrage, a day of
protest, pray and possibility that the media cannot ignore; a
day during which we demand that our national decision makers
redirect our tax dollars away from war and war profiteering to
create a regional Marshall Plan that restores New Orleans and
the Gulf Coast.
8/29: A DAY OF PRESENCE
We Matter. We Care. We Act.
We're all weary, and our lives are overscheduled. But
taking a stand at this crucial moment is something we must do.
As Frantz Fanon said, "Each generation must discover its
mission and, having discovered its mission, either fulfill or
Our generation is at grave risk of the latter.
not an issue killing our community that African Americans have
stood solidly together on and remedied since the Civil Rights
Movement. Let's write a new history. Let's stand together on
this and win social and economic justice for the people of the
Gulf Coast region. With the hope and courage garnered from that
victory we can then address the failing schools, the over-incarceration of our
young and the other ills sucking the life out of our community.
This is the call: On 8/29 the tens of thousands who can
travel to New Orleans will gather for the massive demonstration
being planned there. (The exact time and place to
follow). Millions of Black people, our White, Latino, Native and
Asian brothers and sisters - all who are committed to social and
economic justice - are to call their congressional and state
representatives and the White House to demand the restoration
and betterment of New Orleans, Gulf Port, Biloxi and the entire
Gulf Coast region. The telephone number for the White House
switchboard is (202) 456-1414; the U. S. Congressional
switchboard operators at (202) 224-3121 connect callers directly
to their Senators' and Representatives' offices, after asking for a state of
residence and zip code.
America will inundate Washington with a storm surge of phone
calls, emails and faxes, loudly protesting this administration's
shameful disregard for the people elected officials are supposed
to protect. We want the state and national headquarters of
both the Republican and Democratic parties to get a startling and
disturbing wake-up call: Black people will not be taken for
8/29 we must be fully present with all of our caring, compassion
and determination. Present on that day we must have our national
leaders, presidential candidates and elected officials, faith communities, fraternities, sororities, union members and
celebrities present in full force.
Perry, Kimberly Elise, Regina King, Victoria Rowell, Sheryl Lee
Ralph, Blair Underwood and others are with us in spirit,
checking their schedules and awaiting details. CSI's Hill Harper
is taping and is requesting the day off. Comedian and festival
host Jonathan Slocumb, who kept the 8/29 initiative alive each
day and evening before the tens of thousands of festival goers, cares and will be present on that day. Tom Joyner will be
broadcasting from New Orleans on 8/29. We need Harry Belafonte
and Danny Glover; we need Oprah, Spike, Halle, Angelina, Brad
and Bono, Sean Penn, Wynton Marsalis, the hip-hop community et
And of course, we need a huge turnout from the people of New
Orleans and the Gulf region and as many thousands of displaced
evacuees as can manage to return and have their presence register in Washington, in the media and the national
We want all presidential candidates to take heed of the
national discontent and our resolve to hold them accountable.
Americans are unaware of how gravely people of the Gulf
Coast region are still suffering. Mayor Nagin said, "We are
physically, emotionally and spiritually tired." A flood of
media nonsense has washed over the facts of life for the people
of New Orleans: Nearly two years later, 200,000 people are still
living in trailers. More than 250,000 evacuated residents are
still scattered throughout the nation. Two years later, 70
public schools in Orleans Parish remain closed. There are no
mental health services, no hospitals to serve the uninsured
yet, as Barack Obama pointed out the evening he spoke at the
festival, $165 million a day is being spent on the war in Iraq.
Other research puts the number at an average of $259 million each day – an amount that could pay for a full year in Head
Start pre-school programs for 35,000 three- and four-year-olds.
For less than the amount spent in one month in Iraq, all of New
Orleans could have been completely rebuilt.
Marian Wright Edelman noted that the Day of Presence is
taking place at an opportune moment, just before Congress
reconvenes to make its final decision, along with the President,
on whether or not to fund the State Children's Health Insurance
Program (SCHIP) and help the dispersed children of Katrina get the
mental health support and health coverage they desperately need.
Regional co-conveners include Mayor Nagin; Councilwoman
Cynthia Willard-Lewis, who represents the Ninth Ward; committed
activist lawyers Tracie Washington, president and CEO of The
Louisiana Justice Institute, and Judith Browne, co-director of the Advancement Project;
and the Rev. Norwood Thompson, Jr.,
president of the New Orleans chapter of SCLC. The Louisiana
Justice Institute is the lead organization and is forming a
broad coalition of regional and community-based groups to plan
day's program and work on the regional turnout.
Wright Edelman will help to organize our faith communities, and
Marcia Dyson is working on a framework to sustain the movement
Who will step up as national co-conveners, along with
Melanie Campbell, executive director and CEO of the National
Coalition on Black Civic Participation, ESSENCE Cares and those leaders who joined me in meeting with the mayor? Please contact
Melanie Campbell at email@example.com
and me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
28 The Louisiana Justice Institute, Mississippi Economic Policy
Center, Gulf Coast Young Leaders Network and a coalition of
regional organizations, with support from Oxfam, Rutgers
University and other institutions, are also convening a policy
forum: Recovery and Renewal for Gulf Coast Working Families. For
more information about
the policy forum and the time and place of the 8/29: A Day of
Presence rally, log on to the Institute's Website, http://www.louisianajusticeinstitute.org,
after July 17.
need all hands on deck. Our job - all of us – is to mobilize
the masses to act. Together we have the compassion, the will and
spiritual resources to help our sisters and brothers in the Gulf region to reclaim and
better their lives. They matter and deserve to be treated with
the dignity and respect due every human being, none more than
tax-paying African Americans, whose ancestors helped build and make the nation the wealthiest on earth.
Please give this email, and the related ones that will
follow, the widest possible distribution. Let's organize our
community to stand up and stand together as we haven't done in
decades. With the needs of our people - not our egos - leading
the way, we will win.
No forces arrayed against us can withstand our unity and
reading and your support...enjoy this weekend and the upcoming
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