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Guest column/Who will step up to improve our community?

April 1, 2012

And it happens again.

I am no longer a resident of Steubenville, but it will always be the source of my childhood and the beginning of my life's journey. I grew up in the era when the community came together for many things, good and bad, and when the most that we had to worry about was getting in under curfew. I did not realize how blessed I really was to have been raised in that time. I remember the, then-shocking deaths of Michael Jarrett and Jill Howard and not understanding why no one brought their assailants to justice.

Fast forward to this past weekend of March 2012. The speed and rates of deaths clearly overshadow anything that our youth had experienced. I cannot believe the rate of murders among young black men that has occurred recently, and I also cannot believe that someone does not know who the assailants are. I am a resident of Texas now, but I have known a number of the victims who have lost their lives recently and the last one brought tears to my eyes, because I have known his mother for years and I know that this young man was his mother's only child. There is no question that an entire family's existence is forever altered with this missing link. Who answers the cries of the grieving mothers? Each time this violence occurs a mother does weep and justice remains elusive.

Several people have brought up Coleman Mullins, my dear departed father's name to me, and expressed the need for his services to the community. As his daughter, I am touched and I am proud to find that he was admired and is still thought of. I remember that he was not the only soldier on the field for his community. I remember Mr. Baker, a proud, strong man who was not to be trifled with. I remember Skip Mixon, militant, outspoken and intelligent as well. I remember the progressive black men who were seeking better conditions for the community.

I am not seeking to lay blame at anyone's feet because, unfortunately, there is quite enough to go around. Some will seek to only blame the police for lack of arrests - there is some blame if there is no active pursuit to solve the crimes. Some will blame the city government, and they have to accept their portion of the blame if there is no attempt to create resources to uplift all of the citizens. Some will blame the black community and can if there is no attempt to cease the killings and feel something for the suffering families. It is admirable when blacks attempt to support black businesses, but funeral homes are not the only businesses available to support and they will not go under without a rush of clients.

This life is a series of races, relays if you will, and we must all run. The days of the aforementioned community leaders has, unfortunately, passed. These men have left their batons on the field -who among you will pick them up and run the race for a better community and a better life for our youth? We have all, in some way, been up in arms about Trayvon Martin, and rightly so.

We are losing young men at an alarming rate, and who will be righteously outraged for them? How many mothers' tears must roll down their cheeks before someone realizes just how wrong this all is? Stop blaming, accusing and denigrating others and get it together and please, please stop this madness.

(Moye, a resident of Kingwood, Texas, is the daughter of the late Coleman Mullins, a former Steubenville City Councilman.)

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