Monday, April 12, 2010

Silence Kills - Where's your voice?

The feature editorial in today's Chicago SunTimes has a headline of "Silence Kills even the best in the city"

This story is intended to motivate people who know who commits criminal acts to speak up, so killers can be taken off the street.

However, most of the readers of the SunTimes probably don't know anything about who committed these crimes.

Let's take this editorial in another direction. Let's aim it at all of the people who don't live in poverty, who do read these stories in the SunTimes and Tribune, but who are not using their communications ability to mobilize resources that would make more and better tutor/mentor programs available in these neighborhoods.

Last Saturday night I watched a TV show called "Law and Order" in which a principal of an inner city high school was passionately describing the inequality between the education kids in charter schools get, and what public school kids in the same neighborhood were getting. I was disturbed by the way the TV show portrayed the principle, because she was protecting kids who had committed a terrible crime, and she was changing grades so these kids, and the school, looked better on paper.

To me, this lessened her credibility as an advocate for kids attending poorly funded schools in high poverty, big city neighborhoods.

Millions of people probably watched that show. I wonder how many said to themselves, "this is terrible". Thousands of people probably read the SunTimes editorial today, and said "that's right".

But how many looked in the mirror, or read my blog articles, and said, I know ten people who could provide donations to support youth programs in inner city neighborhoods with large, or small, donations. I'm going to call them up today and ask them to send a donation, right after I send my own donation.

If more people took on vocal roles, every day, to encourage people who don't live in poverty, or businesses who benefit when more kids are moving through school into jobs rather than dropping out before graduation, to take on roles that increase the flow of needed resources into all of the neighborhoods where poverty is causing bad things to happen, we could improve the quality and availability of non-school tutoring, mentoring, learning and technology programs, and begin to send more kids to school every day more motivated, prepared and focused on learning.

Read some of the articles I've written and pass these, and the links on to 10 people you know every week. In a year you've motivated 50 people to get involved. In two years this leads to more than 5,000 more people becoming involved.

You can help break the Code of Silence, and the impact of poverty, by your own actions.

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