By Alderman Joe Davis, Sr.
This past weekend, two homicides occurred in the aldermanic district that I represent. I deeply regret these senseless tragedies, and I accept full responsibility as a civic leader. Conditions in some areas of the City of Milwaukee are out of control, but it also merits mention that part of the blame lies with residents’ behavior and upbringing.
When I look around, I see young kids engaging in irresponsible behavior, from using inappropriate language to their disrespectful interactions with adults. But as I look deeper into their family lives, I find that problems exist with the nurturing environments that should have been created for adolescent growth, but weren’t. And it’s a damn shame! (Excuse me, Pastor.)
Some say that I should not get emotional about the plight of African American kids’ home environments, which are a product of the irresponsible adults in their lives. But when I see fathers’ pants sagging, mothers dressed like their children and kids who are permitted to watch inappropriate television programming and play violent video games, it becomes personal.
As I continue to represent the 2nd Aldermanic District, I will be criticized for my hard-line stance on what is acceptable for our children and what is not. I will continue to challenge my constituents to raise their children in a better environment without condemning their efforts, because I know some parents are trying hard and struggling with scarce resources.
I will continue to challenge the young men and women who have started to choose lives of rebellion and promiscuity instead of a relationship with abstinence, discipline and God. And I will continue to challenge my colleagues on the Common Council to take it personally when a child succumbs to the environment in which he or she was raised, because that could have been any one of our children.
I really do struggle with this phenomenon of crime with which the City of Milwaukee is plagued, even as we sit comfortably with our cups of coffee. As we shake our heads reading the online stories of violence in our beloved city, I hope we can reflect on the words of one of the greatest songwriters, Marvin Gaye: “What’s Going On?”