As the Federal Government and local governments around the country deal with a fiscal crisis the magnitude of that not seen since the Great Depression.
As my hometown of Los Angeles grapples with a $700 million deficit this year alone, elected officials and community members are discussing ways that are proven to keep our communities safe?
Through all the political sound bites and propaganda, I would like to state that I firmly believe that all of us play a fundamental role in keeping our neighborhoods safe and protected.
However, the current economic crisis and the unwillingness of certain elected bodies to adequately fund social service programs that are proven to work while saving taxpayers billions of dollars is unfortunately jeopardizing the safety of us all.
For me, the following programs not only keep us safe, but also help us to personally, spiritually, and economically prosper.
For many of us, libraries that provide a safe place where young people and families can use computers, read books, and expand their minds keeps us safe.
For many of us, the parks where young people and families can play sports, learn about teamwork, and have fun keeps us safe.
For many of us, the art centers where young people and families can explore their creativity and imaginations keeps us safe.
For many of us, the schools and non-profits working to provide unlimited opportunities for our youth and families keep us safe.
And for all of us, it's our homes where our children and families learn the values and behaviors that ultimately keep us all safe.
So if our own personal experiences tell us that this is so and that this will make our neighborhoods and communities safer,
And if the latest scientific research also says that this is so,
Why are these critical programs the first to be cut dramatically to balance budgets across America?
When are we as a community going to stand up for what we know works, saves money, and saves lives?
When are we as public officials going to realize that police departments alone cannot keep us safe or solve all of our problems?
When are we going to acknowledge that we must proportionately fund all aspects of violence reduction - police, schools, art centers, parks, libraries, and those programs that truly invest in and believe in the goodness of our children?
I write these words because we are coming to a point as a society, and as a people, where we can no longer hide behind empty words, but live through bold actions.
The stakes are to