The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis Farrakhan, two leading voices in the war against youth violence, say that the brutal murder of the Chicago teenager last month should serve as a wakeup call to the Black community.
Editorial: Senseless Violence Is One Problem We Can't Live With
Derrion Albert, a 16-year-old honor student with no known gang ties, was beaten to death when two feuding factions of students clashed. Witnesses say that Albert was an innocent bystander who was merely walking to his school bus stop when he was punched, stomped and beaten with wooden boards. The beating, captured on a cell phone camera, has served as a stark reminder of the raw violence that often occurs in inner-city America. Four teens have been charged with murder.
"I believe all of us can be saved," Farrakhan said during Derrion’s funeral Saturday, responding to comments by the slain youth’s father that young people are not salvageable. "[Derrion's] righteous life served as a redemptive force to make us get up and save our children."
Jackson, another longtime advocate against violence and a powerful force in the fight against handguns in Chicago and other cities, said that students should be able to attend the "closest and safest school possible" instead of having to hop buses to and from school. "Why send these children into harm's way every day?" Jackson asked. "These are war zones. This wasn't an incident, it's a pattern."
The utter viciousness of Albert’s murder reached all the way to the White House. President Obama said that he will dispatch Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Chicago this week to look into the killing. The administration is planning a new initiative to address youth crime and violence.