Unity within the Community is Vital

Where there is unity, there is strength. Where there is strength, there is peace. And where there is peace, there is never a need that God will not supply.

Wisdom bites. Positive builds strength and negative builds barriers. America will always be great as long as we give God honor. There is a message in the “mess” and a “test” in the testimonies.

We need to be proactive and not react when tragedy happens next door. There is criminal law, civil law, constitutional law and the law of the land. Change is a part of life; we can be involved with change or we can hide or ignore it.

One of my concerns is saving our children. We are generations behind, so if we plan to build or stand, we must have a strong foundation. Our children will be that foundation if they can stay focused and in school.

They don’t want a handout; they want a hand up, which is an education. In order to help save them, we need to take action — not for one day, not for one week, not for one month, but for a lifetime of mentoring them.

Some of our children are sent to the alternative school, then suspended, then the cycle is repeated the next year, and then it’s to the streets. When our children are trained by the streets, they are on their way to the system of incarceration.

As I ride through the neighborhoods, I see children on street corners who are underage; I ask them, “Why you are not in school?”, and the response is, “I am suspended.” I have addressed the issue, but I have been advised to help children who want help. All children want help, but neither they nor their guardians know where to get it. And then there are parents who can’t help themselves.

We really need an education so that we can be a positive part of a growing, positive community. We don’t want to be a statistic. We need 365 days of being our brother’s keeper without blaming one another, because there is not enough blame to go around. There are no sides to take; we are all in this together.

New organizations are not needed; organizations already in existence need to work together as one and not be territorial. The community needs to be educated on these organizations’ mission and vision. What separates one organization from another, and how can these organizations help identify children who need one-on-one help to keep them from going to the streets?

Our leaders, the voices of the community, go to the table with hidden agendas and personal concerns that benefit them. We need leaders who are sincere and not promoting their own agenda, or seeking degrees or professional accomplishments to hang on the walls. We need leaders who will bring walls down and represent people in the community. We should be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

Bad experiences can happen in all walks of life. However, we cannot afford to allow these experiences to determine our destination or to put fear in us. For God did not give us a spirit of fear. The light is brighter than the dark side. The spirit of darkness cannot see its shadow. The light will show up the darkness.

The Bible speaks of rich and poor and not middle class. You go in one way and come out several different ways. So where do we go when the media or social media are not there?

All lives matter: civil, quasi-civil, anti-civil and half-civil. All of us are born as misfits, but we must be obedient; obedience is better than a sacrifice. We have one to create the universe, one to destroy us, one to give us a second chance, and one to blame (Lord, the one you gave me caused me to do it). Remember when a king called Daniel to read the handwriting on the wall.

Ruby Rice is a former president of the Spartanburg NAACP.