Your View: ‘Are you tired yet?’

Valencia Gunder is a community activist, Liberty City resident, and founder of Make the Homeless Smile Miami. 

Northwest Miami-Dade is grappling with rising gun violence. The death of 6-year-old King Carter last month from stray gunfire has galvanized the community.

Liberty City is home to about 850,000 people, a mainly African-American, middle class occupied community that has a history of vibrant businesses, mixed income housing, some of the best schools and also holds one of the largest housing projects in America. Riding through, you will see the uniquely painted homes, but also the grim and dirt that overshadows the beauty it once had.

But Liberty City is always judged by the few who have chosen to mistreat her by selling drugs, committing murders and many other things. These people have robbed us of safety and opportunity with their malicious acts, scaring off business owners and homeowners and leaves us with very little resources and light at the end of the tunnel.

Before I give the outside world my thoughts on how many cliffs they can fall off, I want to ask my community “ARE WE TIRED YET?” What exactly has to happen for us to want to stand up and take our community back?

We had 260 murders last year. It’s only March, and already we’ve had more than 60 murders since the beginning of 2016. We are losing our community to a culture that we refuse to address. I know many people hate the term HOOD because of the negative connotation it has to it; but being HOOD is not what is causing us to end up in these situations. It is our acceptance of gang culture, listening to lyrics on how many “bodies we got under our belt” or how many “bricks” we flipped.

I have been very observant lately around the community and what I’ve noticed is the fact that as a community we support the GANG CULTURE but we get up in arms when that same culture takes a family member away from us, whether it be death, drugs, or jail. The Gang Culture needs to go!

We lace our lifestyles, social media, music, dance, even “at home” education with it, and we wonder why it has plagued our community the way that it has. Last month the community had its heart broken on another level, when six-year-old King Carter was killed while playing outside.

Even though we are used to seeing our youth’s lives taken, it’s never been one that young. Now, did he deserve that? Did his family deserve that? Did his parents deserve to have to bury their baby? Did our community deserve this slap in the face? NO!

But since we as a community refuse to confront this HUGE elephant in the middle of the room, this will continue to happen to us. Baby King was not even buried yet when another child was slain in cold blood in our community.

So I ask ARE WE TIRED YET? Are we tired of fighting an internal battle that can be fixed if we come together and directly combat this terrible monster?

But America, we want you to understand that your foolish news coverage and ignorant panels loaded with your silly opinions will not help us and has never helped us. Trying to shame us into fixing something in our house that you are afraid to step into will not work. This is an in-house problem that can only be fixed internally.

Parents must start to take accountability for their children. YES, children are committing the majority of these crimes and we have to restore the family to fix these issues.

We are very clear of our situation and we have a common understanding of the cause. Now all we need to do is stand as ONE and make the change we want to see. We are never ashamed of what is going on in our community. We refuse to be looked down on because you want to use your platform, your media to oppress us.

Your View is a recurring series of opinion pieces from members of The New Tropic community. To share your ideas, goals, and work about Miami with the community in a Your View piece, please submit it here.