It’s 12:15 a.m. in New York City, and nearly 60 people are gathered on the corner of 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Harlem. Rev. Al Sharpton stands in the middle of the group, which includes his National Action Network members and volunteers. Members of the media wield bright camera lights that cut through the darkness.
As he addresses the small crowd of people who’ve been monitoring eight different corners across the city from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the last four weeks as part of his Occupy the Corners movement, it’s clear that the MSNBC Politics Nation host is tired. But, despite preaching two sermons in Detroit and rallying that community for a second activation of Occupy the Corners before flying to the Big Apple for this encouragement speech, Sharpton delivers.
“We’ve got to take that veneer of ‘I want to be a thug, that gets me respect’ to where it doesn’t get you respect,” he says, pausing to speak to The Root.
By involving community members in Occupy the Corners, or OTC, Sharpton aims to decrease the violence with the theory that criminals will not think it is OK to attack their neighbors. With New York as ground zero, he hopes to push the movement nationally, in light of violence in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago, the latter which saw 19 peopleshotin 30 minutesin August. But will this movement be enough to identify and defeat the true catalyst behind the rising gun violence in America?
Attributing the increased violence primarily to gun availability, Sharpton adds that self-hate is also at the root of the phenomenon. Black-on-black crime, in particular, continues in inner-city communities because it’s easier to hurt someone who looks like you. He also says to truly curb gun violence, a showdown with the National Rifle Association is inevitable.
“The solution is we’ve got to get the guns out of the community, and we’ve got to change the attitude of the kids,” he says. “When you talk to 13-year-old children and they know where to get a gun, we have a crisis.”
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article courtesy of TheRoot.com
Originally seen on http://praisecleveland.com/