As I step outside and look around at the many houses, streets and blocks, I see abandoned buildings, vacant lots strewn with paper, writing on walls, broken glass and liquor bottles.
I wonder what happened and how did we get here.
We have stopped caring about our community and ourselves; where is the respect, and what have we done that makes us accept the things we see?
As I ponder this question, it goes back to the home.
We now have babies raising babies – a young girl who has no clue what it really takes to be a mother.
We have allowed our men to disrespect our women for so long it has become a way of life.
Women are having babies for the concept that it will keep a man, and that is not the case. If a married man will walk away from a family, what makes you think
he will stay with you?
We have allowed ourselves to accept certain things and situations.
Parents no longer have control over the household.
Children are going hungry because mother has a man who needs the money more than
her children do, so I must sacrifice fulfilling my child’s needs to take care of the needs of my man who has no job?
We are living in a time where we placed the blame on everyone else accept for the man or woman in the mirror. Who made us rob, steal and kill?
We take from the elderly who has worked their whole life to get what they have and call it cool. We have no morals or value, or even respect for ourselves. Anything and everything comes out of our mouths.
Education has fallen to an all-time low. Our children can’t represent themselves as intelligent human beings, and we are OK with that.
In pregnancy, we are smoking and getting high, not realizing the effect it will have on the unborn child.
Woman are allowing men to move in who have no job, get up to drop you off at work in your car. Women are settling just for the sake of saying, ‘I have a man.’
When do we say enough is enough?
When do we take ownership and stop the madness happening in our community?
When do we feel the need to take back our homes from the children who’ve taken control?
We have allowed things to get to far out of hand. It is time for a change.
If you have enough sense to stand in the cold on the corner and help someone else build their business, why not go legit and build your own? Why do we let people put us in bondage for foolishness?
We walk around with our pants under our butts and pajama pants, night scarves on our heads and cigarettes hanging out of our mouths.
What I have learned is we have common sense because we will not go beyond the West Side of Austin with that nonsense.
We turn the music down in our car, and we don’t hang out on the corners. Why you ask? Because the community will not stand for it.
It is time out for all this foolishness to end.
Parents need to go back to parenting, not allowing the children to run the household. Labor is too hard for you to let your child tell you what they will or will not do.
Our jails are on overloaded with our youth; children’s dreams are being stolen everyday from a bullet that was intended for someone else.
We need raise girls to be respectful women with a purpose and a goal.
Men need to come out from the cracks and crevasses and show our young men how to be men. It is not the police or the school system’s job to provide guidance to our children – that is your job.
We need to teach them to be respectful of themselves and others; if you did not work for it, keep your hands off. If you did not pay taxes or put your John Henry on mortgage papers, you are trespassing.
It is time for change, it time for us to stop turning away from what is going on and make a difference to save our neighborhoods – one block at a time.
Attend meetings, get together to do community activities; parents, check on your children in school, don’t just go when the teachers call.
We cannot continue to allow the system to take our children – it has to stop.
Who are you waiting on? These are our children, and it takes a village. Stop letting outside people come in and tell us what is wrong; we know what’s wrong, so we need to fix it.
There is no need for us to walk outside hear the cussing, and see our community as a garbage dump. We should have more respect for ourselves and where we live.
People have fought and died for the freedom that we have, yet we continue to put ourselves in bondage. It is time to break the chains and make a new start to a better community.
It starts with you – no more excuses, do your part.
What part will you play in making a change without looking for someone else to do it? What will your next step be?
Ask yourself the question: Am I the problem or the solution? Then you can move forward to making a difference.
It is time!
Renna Thomas has lived in the community for over 42 years. She loves conversation that “provokes a thought process” and helps “bring you back to reality.”