Why Don't Black People Protest 'Black-on-Black Violence'?

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Juan Williams offers a meme that we are seeing repeated in response to the widespread protests around Trayvon Martin:


But what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Where is the march for them? 
This is an interesting question. It's also one that Juan Williams, who's been writing about race for almost three decades, should be able to answer. Moreover, Williams is an award-winning journalist. Should he not know the answer, it would suit him to do his job and find out.  

No matter. 


HARLEM -- New York public leaders, community organizations and residents gathered Sunday to celebrate the 42nd annual African American Day Parade in Harlem. One focal point of the march was to attenuate the looming violence in neighboring and citywide communities. 

The march took place on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., extending from 111th St. to 135th St., summoning New York dignitaries such as Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, New York Police Department Commissioner Kelly Raymond, city council members Robert Jackson, Inez Dickens, and assemblyman Keith Wright. The NAACP, the National Action Network, and other organizations joined leaders in celebrating the achievements of the African American community, and reflect on its culture in the 21st century America... 

The stream of consciousness regarding violence in the community permeated the street. A banner from State Senator Bill Perkins read, "Drop The Guns! Stop The Violence"--which evoked passionate responses from onlookers.

This is Pittsburgh last September:

[The] Stop the Violence rally was a peaceful, entertaining and uplifting event that felt like a family reunion. The message of stopping the violence was loud and clear throughout the whole day and the Thomas family wants everyone to take that message home every day, not just for one day out of the year. 

This was the 10th annual rally Loaf and Cynthia Thomas have sponsored and hosted every September 11 in response to the attack on America and the senseless acts of violence that occur in the Hill District and other "hoods" in the city of Pittsburgh and throughout the country.

A year after his death, the memory of 9-year-old Devin Elliott and other victims of violence in Saginaw continues to motivate residents to take back their streets, the Rev. Larry D. Camel says. 

"We're not going to tolerate kids getting killed in our streets any longer," said Camel, co-founder of faith-based anti-violence community organization Parishioners on Patrol. Camel said he hopes at least 500 people participate in a second Stop the Violence March at 10 a.m. Saturday in Saginaw. 

 Last fall, Parishioners on Patrol organized a Stop the Violence rally and march that attracted 150 people, a response to 22 shootings in Saginaw resulting in three deaths.

Dorie Miller Housing Development residents were reluctant to join a protest march Saturday afternoon, but eventually, more than 50 people congregated in front of a makeshift memorial where 19-year-old Andre Blissitt of Indianapolis was shot and killed Tuesday night. 

Blissitt was visiting his mother, Timiko Blissitt, and sister, Nakita Muex, when he was caught in a shooting spree in the complex. Muex, 21, didn't have the words to describe the pain she and her mother feel. 

"This was my only brother," she said quietly into the megaphone. "Now, it's just me and my momma, and it hurts."

Hundreds of protestors marched through Fort Greene on Palm Sunday to protest three shootings in the Ingersoll and Whitman Houses that resulted in two deaths last month. "It needs to stop," said Linda Simpson, resident of the nearby Farragut Houses, and one of the marchers. 

Residents of the housing developments blame drugs and disconnected youth for a body count in the 88th Precinct that's already equal to the number of murders reported in all of 2011. "It's black-on-black crime," said Monique Richardson, who grew up in the Farragut Houses. "It's been a downfall for the past 15 years. Now, you have to be in doors by 5 p.m. [to be safe]."
That's just a sample.

I came up in the era of Self-Destruction. I wrote a book largely about violence in black communities. The majority of my public experiences today are about addressing violence in black communities. I can not tell you how scared black parents are for their kids, and whatever modest success of my book experienced, most of it hinged on the great worry that black mothers feel for their sons. 

There is a kind of sincere black person who really would like to see even more outrage about violence in black communities. I don't think outrage will do it at this point, but I respect the sincere feeling. 

And then there are pundits who write more than they read, and talk more than they listen, and prefer an easy creationism to a Google search.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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