(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke out against the Black community’s problem with gun violence during a trip to New York this week and called upon African-Americans to take the fate of their communities into their own hands.
"You are looking for change to come, but change will not come out of the sky," Farrakhan told a crowd in Harlem, according to DNAinfo. "You are the agent of change.”
Farrakhan, 79, was referencing the recent spate of gun violence that has rocked Black communities in New York and Chicago and that has left scores of young people dead. Farrakhan also visited Brooklyn during his whistle-stop gun violence tour and spoke in front of a housing project in Brownsville, where shootings are an all too common occurrence.
“They are building prisons, and who are they for? Not for the white man,” he told a crowd at the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn, the New York Daily News reports. “Nobody cares about you. You are the product of your former slave masters. You are not as bad as you are acting.”
Gun violence in the notorious Brooklyn neighborhood has claimed the lives of 80 people since the beginning of the year, and Farrakhan isn’t the only activist to take note. Earlier this month, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Occupy the Corners initiative brought the organization’s members out to various communities in New York, including Brownsville, to engage residents on safety issues.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it will allocate $600,000 to fund a program that will work to decrease violence in Brownsville and 14 other U.S. cities.
Farrakhan couched his message of self-reliance, within his trademark sentiment regarding what he sees as a conspiracy to keep African-Americans in violent communities and ensnared in the criminal justice system.
“You ain’t manufacturing no guns, but you got some,” he said. “Your people are being herded into a lifestyle — that is going to jail.”
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