The Daily Grind Video

We constantly talk about Black crime and the troubles of our Black youth in America. This week gave a noble view of the other side called hope.

  One of the refreshing things about Soledad O’Brien’s “Black In America 2” series on CNN was that she presented us with success stories, not just statistics. Too often, we are weighted down in urban America with repeated stories of failure and despair. This ends up piling onto the feelings of fear and grief that, in the end, often limit our youth with a self-fulfilling prophecy of mistrust for authority, disconnection from academics, and an appetite for destruction.  

One thing that I saw first-hand is a collective attempt to turn that tide. 

NOBLE – the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives – is holding their 8th Annual Youth Leadership Conference in collaboration with their 33rd Annual NOBLE Conference. Whereas many will think that the onus of importance will be on the congregation of hundreds of African-American and urban leaders in the law enforcement realm, I would beg to differ. Their attendance and cooperation amongst themselves will lead to safer communities and better accessibility to all levels of justice, but their deeper investment is in their collective vision to hold this annual summer event.  

Leadership comes when the opportunity to step forward combines with the courage to do so after the acknowledgement of a need or void. The students attending the NOBLE Youth Conference are taking those first steps – not only acknowledging a need, but showing the courage to step forward. We must also follow that example, supporting those folks (especially those young people) that are willing to profess the best and brightest in Black America, even as we highlight and address the challenged and struggling. Will we always agree? No. Must we challenge each other to bring about the best solutions? Yes. However we do it, we must ensure that we are actively supporting and encouraging, especially our youth that find the right path even as wrong choices surround them every day. If we are not willing to uplift, support, and mentor the ones doing the right things in school, in society, and in the streets, how can we ever expect them to appreciate the value that comes from staying on the right path? This is especially so for a generation of young, urban Americans that understands all too clearly that the next day is not promised to any of us. 

Some may say that this is not a political message, but a social one. However, politics stems from the Greek root word “polis”, meaning city or state. Thus, anything involving our cities and our states are political fodder, issues that call for our political awareness, involvement, and leadership. I was proud and honored to see this up close from the students of the 2009 NOBLE Youth Conference. It is my hope that we return the favor, allowing students everywhere that are doing the right things with their young lives to see up close from us our support, appreciation, and love for them – through our political involvement to foster a better tomorrow for them, starting today. 

Lenny McAllister is a political commentator that has been featured on C

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