The Chicago Daily Defender
Gang peace Raises Hopes
Chicago's civil-rights movement has, for a number of years, been the target of ridicule because of the unorthodox way it has tried to eliminate some of the basic inequalities in the ghetto and as a result of the movement's failure to direct attention to a positivie program.
What has happened, basically, is that the movement has blundered along aimlessly, realizing few victories; and every constructive effort made to develop a solid foundation has been stymied by a disgruntled hierarchy that has created more divisions than unity.
It's saddening to know that Chicago's "black men of prominence" have not yet learned the value of cohesion.
What is encouraging, though, is that our black youths, who have been forced to exist and make their own way in a society that compromises for its ills by promoting paternalism and exploitation, are not willing to travel the same roads as their forefathers.
It is a fact, however, that, Chicago has been plagued over the pats two or three years by terrrorist gang activities. So ruthless were these activities that people cringed when they heard names like the Blackstone Rangers, the Deveil's Disciples, and Conservative Vice Lords.
Few days pased whan a news story didn't appear in at least one newspaper relating to teen gang rivalries that in many cases resulted in revolting tragedies.
But we could hardly expect teenagers, lacking a sense of direction other than the animal-like atmosphere which the ghetto perpetuates, to act differently.
Three months ago, or more, the Chicago Daily Defender established a new philosophy which it hoped would bridge the gap between black leadership and rivalry between gangs.
"Peace In the Ghetto," "Stop Killing Your Brother," and "Build Black Pride" became our rallying cries.
Finally, on Wednesday, we were rewarded when the city's three largest gangs openly denounced violence as a way orf urban survival and each, independently, set forth a "positiive progrm for community improvement." Even more encouraging was the fact that strong community support was pledged, indicating a sincere desire on the part of some black leaders to adhere to reform.
Such actions deserve massive applause from the black community. Moreover, we should give encouragement and full support to this high purpose.
The time for positive action is now. Black is beautiful, and unity is our salvation.