Can You Handle The Truth?
Reverend Jerry Artis is the Pastor of Love of Christ Fellowship Church
Returning home on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 27, 2011, from the Dix Hill Diner, where my whole church went in support of one of our young members who works there as she finishes up her master degree. We heard and saw a helicopter overhead, and saw the Police cars, and the taped off area, my heart sank. When I arrived home, my misgivings were realized. I was informed about the shootings and the victims. My mind flashed back to years passed when I mentored them at the Boys and Girls Club.
I remembered us singing together, performing drama, doing homework together, one of the youth danced almost identical to Michael Jackson! I remembered the pride we felt as we marched to Manor Field on Saturdays, and the residents would look on with their babies saying ‘here comes the Boys and Girls Club’! We sang our songs, the kids played, we all ate together, sung our grace as a family. Then my mind came back to the sad reality of what had happened.
We had our boys and girls club at the Huntington Enrichment center. As hard as I try to put it behind me, time after time incidences like these cause me to wonder how different these young people lives would be, if the beautiful world we had come to know and loved was not taken from us. Those who are always consulted by the powers that be made the decision to have us shut down. 168 parents and the children pleaded to keep the boys and girls club. I applaud those who have never wavered in their love and support for our children, and the parents who instilled, some singlehanded, good values in their children, who are doing great but don’t make the news.
The question that begs to be asked is what can we do to change the status quo. What must I do, what must we do? To come to a real solution, we must first and foremost face the truth. The next burning question is can we handle the truth?
In handling the matter, the truth of the matter is that old thinking cannot handle new realities. How much longer will we consult with people who are totally out of touch and people who really don’t care, and won’t care until the day come when the problems they think are so far away, strike home. Surely if the people who always have been, and seemingly, exclusively, always will be, could change the problems, they surely would. They would welcome new input so that in unity there would be strength, there would be fresh solutions, that just might work! Why is this never done? Why do you want to silence all voices except your own. Is it true that you seek more recognition than reconciliation, can you handle the truth?
Parents who truly do your best, some of you singlehanded, and still your child follows the wrong path, I feel your pain, and I reach out to you and stand ready to do whatever I can to help your child. Parents, especially absentee fathers, who know in your heart you may have failed your child, I declare unto you that it is not too late, if you can handle the truth. Parents who have been successful with children, reach out, teach out, know the experience of reaching a child who is not your own.
Preachers, my fellow brethren, I know a lot of us reach out to the youth in our church. We have programs, we encourage them, and help them develop into wonderful adults, but remember those who are not sick don’t need a physician. We must be bold and unite together and come up with ways to reach out to gang members, drug addicts, drug dealers, for the truth of the matter is we must reach beyond our walls, or can we handle the truth?
Politicians, do all you can to obtain resources needed to start and maintain successful programs for the children. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas, identify those who truly care for the children and partner with them. You will see you have many allies if you do. Most of all, don’t you be part of the problem by not doing what you were elected to do. If you don’t do your job, the truth of the matter is you ‘are’ part of the problem, can you handle the truth?
Policemen, I know as a whole you do your best, yet, most serious problems in our community usually happen in the same areas! If the average citizens know this, then surely you must too. The truth is there must be better tactics, better communication with the community, can you handle the truth?
Community, shame on you who know perpetrators who use violence, and do not report them to the authorities, leaving them free to do more violence until a life, maybe their own is lost. The truth is you are helping to make our community unsafe to live in, or can you handle the truth?
Community, all concerned parents, school board, teachers, preachers, merchants, citizens, young people, all of us, don’t we want a community we can be proud of? People of all races, creeds, and colors, we are all God’s children. If a room in your house needed painting, would you paint half the wall and half the ceiling? If you were getting dressed would you put on half your clothes? The truth about the solution to our problems will take a total, wholehearted effort, will we, can we, handle the truth?