Op-ed by Howard Eagle
Dear Mayor Evans,
With all due respect, many of us believe that you mean well, however, at the same time, we also believe that it’s past time to stop engaging in behavior that appears to be bashing City residents relative to “responsibility” regarding inability to end ongoing, rampant, illegal-gun violence, which is occurring (for the most part, in the main) within the Black community (not only in Rochester and other major cities across New York). But within predominantly Black neighborhoods throughout this thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based nation-state (in every direction __ North, East, South, and West), which is one reason why we know that it’s not just one, great, big coincident, but rather is the cumulative effect and impact of historic, policy-driven socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and sociocultural engineering and neglect.
As you noted during your recent press conference regarding the loss (to rampant illegal-gun violence) of yet another young 12-year-old child __ with regard to solutions, “there is no one answer.” However you and Rochester’s Chief of Police seem to be convinced that THE most major problem and issue is the lack of City residents willingness to share information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the violence and killings. And then, in the very same breath, you all turn right around and state that “we can’t arrest our way out of this problem.” It appears that you’re presenting a clear, classic contradiction.
Those of us who are part of the Take It Down Planning Committee/Faith Community Alliance Coalition categorically and vehemently reject the flawed, inaccurate notion that the most major problem and issue regarding solutions, or really the lack thereof, is the unwillingness of City residents to share information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of perpetrators. Instead, (though we agree that “there is no one answer”), we are unequivocally convinced that THE greatest, potentially most effective step that can be taken to significantly curb and reduce rampant illegal-gun violence is to choke off the sources of illegal guns that flow, not only through Rochester (like water flows from High Falls), but also thorough predominantly Black neighborhoods and communities throughout this thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based society.
You all keep TALKING about people “deciding to pick up [ILLEGAL] guns,” but if the ILLEGAL guns weren’t there __ then how would it be possible for people to “pick them up?” Currently, everyone who wants one has one, and/or knows where to get one, which is one of the most perplexing questions in all of this, e.g., if our babies know where to find ILLEGAL guns, and they do, which they are using, and have been using (for many decades) to commit socially, economically, politically, and culturally-induced/engineered fratricide, on a daily basis __ then how in the world is it that the RPD, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Troopers, FBI, CIA, ATF, DEA HS, and a whole bunch of other alphabet soup, so-called law enforcement agencies (with all of their super-sophisticated intelligence and technology), can’t seem to locate and cut of the flow of ILLEGAL GUNS?
Just imagine what the local, State, and Federal responses would be if the conditions described above existed in predominantly white neighborhoods and communities throughout this thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based nation-state __ in every direction (North, East, South, and West).
You see, this reality represents an exemplary sample of how institutional and structural racism functions. We need to understand this __ so that we’ll know (exactly and specifically) what, and who to protest against __ so that we don’t end up attacking the ultimate, manipulated victims __ as opposed to the real systemic-culprits and perpetrators.
Mayor Evans, we could not possibly agree more that __ “we don’t need anymore TALK __ we need ACTION.” And once again, we are unequivocally convinced that the ACTION must begin in your Office, and the Offices of people such as Richard V. Tantalo,
Steven A. Nigrelli, Christopher Wray, William Burns, Alejandro Mayorkas, Steve Dettelbach, etc… etc… etc…, and yes we’re dead serious. This is how bad things have gotten, and this is definitely the kind of action we would see if white folks were the main victims.
Take It Down Planning Committee/Faith Community Alliance Coalition members:
- Minister Clifford Florence
- Howard Eagle
- Fred Tanksley
- Mario Mongeon
- Sharon White
~Howard Eagle is a longtime educator and local anti-racism advocate, known for his campaigns for the Rochester school board and prolific political and social commentary. Eagle taught social studies in the RCSD for 23 years, before retiring in 2010, and taught as an adjunct professor in the Department of African American Studies at SUNY Brockport for 20 years, before retiring in 2020.