FOURTH ANNUAL FRONTLINE CONFERENCE (3/29/07)
This was the 4th Annual Frontline Conference addressing Violence, Gangs, and Turfs. I spent the whole day at the conference checking the details and feeling the crowd - March 29, 2007.
This time around the organizers did a good job and the workshops were well attended with some good panelists and excellent facilitators. The issues pertaining to Gangs, Violence, and Turfs were addressed and also related issues like Re-entry, Barrio Warfare, Survivors: Healing Circle, Crisis Response, and Youth Panel and so on.
This is San Francisco and this City has a budget of over $5.7 billion. That is Billion and this City is still playing with the lives of our youth. Again and again much as we would like the violence to stop it does not. There is much pain going around and the richer parts of San Francisco have not stood up and offered help and hope. Less from Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein; also those in Sacramento and we have let go.
Much as we would like to lessen the pain of the loved ones we still have to deal with the succor and hope. Much as we would like the hurt to go away we all have to bear the burden of the loved one.
On one level this conference helps folks to vent and the speakers to check out and fathom the actions of the day and those of the past. Some say if I knew better I would not have done this, that, and the other. Others say now that I know the past and the things I did - I am in a better position to help. It is a circle of circumstances that some understand and other simple will not deal with.
Gangs do not grow in a vacuum - gangs and gang activity is directly related to the break down in the family, lack of opportunity, and decades of mistrust and distrust among those that are the players, the victims and the authorities. Missing in the mix - spirituality of a kind.
Just like we feed our mind, and body - the soul cannot be left out in the dark. Where are the pastors on this one especially in the poorer hoods? Those Supervisors that should have been listening were not there to listen. That is the problem with this City - some assholes, so called policy makers with an IQ that they should be ashamed of, do not want to learn. Times have changed and policy makers at City Hall cannot legislate unless they bring their assess to ground zero and feel the pulse.
The dynamics of violence, gangs, and turfs has changed from the 1980s and 1900s. With technology and the continued devastation of families there has been a unique dynamic evolution that is hard to keep up and much more difficult to comprehend. Gangs are growing naturally much like fungi and a plague that has no ending.
The nuances are so deep and the turf issues so unique that so called experts pretend all the time that they know about it when it realty they are bluffing themselves. Some of them orbit in a circuit far off and far removed for the reality of the times. I meet them all the time and pray for their souls.
Those gang members serving large sentences from yester year gang wars are left behind in the dark when it comes to text messages and codes that leave the ones that think they can do something about communicating hunting for a satellite spiraling down to earth at the end of its life.
The daily trafficking of illegal substances is so complicated that it takes years to pin point and zero in on the big dealers. Law Enforcement would like to tell you that they are winning but at most they are biting the dust and feeling the pain in their ass. From Kabul to Mexico to Colombia, to Peru and Argentine - all roads lead to the White House.
There was a time when kids had some respect for the police but things have changed drastically. Today kids may love anything but join the police force especially kids that grow up in rougher neighborhoods.
One would have thought the faith based pastors would be around and be of some help. Not a single one from the churches mostly pussyfooting around and thinking less of the youth and lesser of spending time at a conference dealing with reality. Of course god speaks to them much as he does Bush who has messed up this Nation. The key note speaker is well know among some folks and commands a speaker circuit that keeps Jim Brown pretty well informed. Most of his talk was linked to his personal experience. He really was not raised in the hood and saw money and tasted good life for most of his adult life. He made good money as a football player and a B actor of some fame.
It is not easy for folks surrounded by poverty, poor health, lack of opportunities, poor self-esteem to shine. For sure one or two will beat the odds and defy gravity but the majority sinks because the cesspool weighs heavy and the odds of thinking about a glass half-full are not there. Most of time there is no glass and less water to go around.
Recently we had a seventeen year girl die - she had no gang affiliation, had good grades, everything was going well for her. She just happened to be caught in the mix - she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Lucky for her - her popularity and kindness touched so many that the culprits from Potrero Hill were nabbed and the victims from Bayview Hunters Point will remember the injustice for a long, long time.
In this case retaliation was put on the back burner. The healing has just begun but now and then the anger has to be checked. We are dealing with human beings and with lack of counseling and psychological help the victims mostly have to deal with the issues on their own.
Again and again the San Francisco City funds Community Based Organizations but these CBOs continue to defy logic and waste money on matters that are far removed from the objectives of their funding. Time to throw these vermin in jail for their omission - for too many of them have blood of their hands and have been fooling most of the people most of the time.
We need to keep it real and address the issues on a war footing. Enough blood has been spilled and if we do nothing - we must blame ourselves. It is because of our foolishness that we have permitted this madness to reign and get out of control. Adults have to take responsibility for their sins and whether in the barrios, the turfs, underground, behind the wall, in the hood, or in the woods - we cannot shun our conscience and defy common sense. Some one said before we take the streets back we need to get off the streets.
This 4th Annual Frontline Conference on Violence, Gangs, and Turf has revealed the tip of the iceberg. May be, some good will come from it. May be through humility some will be healed. Love can work wonders but genuine love does not come easy - there is pain and there is sacrifice.
A child is born but before the child comes into this world the pangs of child labor are well known and even through the pain comes that one unique cry - gasping for breath and life begins. It is so said to see so many die young. We must empower ourselves for only by doing that can we understand our circumstances.
Time is running out once African American was thirty five percent in this City we are down to five percent. Tomorrow may bring this number to two. We can survive to tell a story of success on forever hold our peace.
Our Latino and Asian Pacific Islander sisters and brothers are following a path that is closer to those led by our African American sisters and brothers. Years ago that was pact embedded in the Civil Rights Movement - now it is survival of the fittest and the Almighty Dollar. Nothing good come from greed but much comes from compassion, hope, love, and giving.
It is said to see Samoans killings Samoans, Cambodians killing Cambodians, African Americans killing cousins - what are we witnessing a sadder reflection then what we see daily on the Television of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Life is for living but we have many that are the living dead - the death comes from lack of spirituality. Spiritual values somehow keep one level headed and the drugs and issues linked to it are kept at a distance. Bring drugs into your life and the mundane things of this Earth are drowned in the bowels of a person and foster evil and destruction. Each one has a conscience but if daily we kill it, and numb it then we act as if are invincible and in deceiving ourselves we make hell a reality.
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