2000-06-03 / Columnists

From The G-Man...by Gary Toms

From The G-Man

Black Leaders Must Step Up

Hey people! I hope the situation will change by the time this issue hits the streets, but as it stands right now, I am very surprised that no one, like Al Sharpton or the NAACP, has taken a leadership role in effort to curtail the violent acts of young Black males in this country. It has to be done, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

The massacre at Wendy’s, sports and music stars on trial for murder, and the New York cabbie killings should all serve as wake up calls for the Black "elite". All the organizations that claim to fight for the decency and respectability of African-Americans, and others, should have much more input in addressing the situations that are tearing the fabric of our African tapestry.

Al Sharpton, the NAACP, CORE, the National Urban League, major celebrities and politicians should band together to call a press conference, and they should announce plans to hold a "Black Summit". This would be ideal for two reasons. First, each of these entities may have different ideas of how to best serve the Black community, but coming together would show a strong sense of unity, which seems to be lacking these days.

Secondly, calling a press conference would let the world know that they are very serious about this issue, and that they intend to do something about it. If prominent people like Colin Powell, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Lauren Hill, DMX, Allen Iverson, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington came forth to denounce violence in the Black community, and society, imagine what the impact could be.

To have these people convey that we are better than what is projected in the media, would be unprecedented, and it just might help to correct some of the negative images that have been unfairly thrust upon good Black people. There is no excuse for so many, with so much power, remaining separate, while the image of Blacks in this country deteriorates.

I don’t want to get into all of the sociological debates over why so many young Black males commit crimes or end up in jail. The point is they are there, and more and more seem to be headed in that direction. Debating doesn’t stop people from purchasing guns, selling drugs, committing robberies and gunning people down, in cold blood, at fast food joints.

It’s time to stop all the debating, and it’s time to come up with some viable solutions. I’ve previously stated, and I’ll continue to state, that prominent people can play a tremendous role in forming a sense of unity throughout the country. If we adopt a "I won’t let you fall" mentality, more people would be inclined to have hope. As it stands now, many, many people have no hope, and that is why they choose paths of destruction. Since the focus is often on young Black males, the Black community suffers. I can do my part by writing this column, but let’s be honest. I’m not Denzel, and I don’t write for Time or some hotshot hip-hop magazine. Get the point?

I, and many others, pay a heavy price because of those who choose paths of destruction. I hate the fact that a white woman crosses the street, or clutches her purse, when she sees me coming. I hate it when couples lock their car doors when I cross in front of them. I hate being followed when I walk into an expensive department store. I could be dressed in a $3,000 suit by Armani, and it wouldn’t make a difference. This is why the press conference, and summit, is so crucial. They could help to eliminate these incidents.

Congressman Meeks, I would respectfully request that you reach out to your fellow reps in the Congressional Black Caucus, and friends in celebrity circles, to try and make this press conference, and summit, a reality. That invitation is also extended to State Senator Malcolm Smith and Rev. Al Sharpton. If any of you reading this has connections to these guys, please pass this along. We’ve marched against racial profiling and racial injustice in many forms. That is all well and good, but what we need to do now, is take care of "our house"!

I do not want to sign off without telling you about one of the finest men in Rockaway. Paul Shields, of Peninsula Auto Repair, has been serving as a mechanic for 23 years in the Rockaway community. I have had my car serviced at his facility, and the attention given was exceptional. Paul, and his staff, are professional and courteous to all of their customers, and I recommend them highly. In an age where mechanics are quick to rip people off, you can rest assured that Paul will give you a fair and accurate price for any work done. They are located on the corner of 92 street, off Rockaway Beach boulevard. If you’d like to make an appointment, call them. I’m sure you will get great service from a great guy.

You can email me at

Mapel2000@aol.com. Take care, and I’ll see you next week.

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