Churches and Youth Violence

From Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's newsletter

"President Obama speaking on youth violence reiterated that government alone can never fill the void that causes a child to turn to violence, but that we all have a responsibility to do our part to create safe communities and save lives......"

Those of you who work on the ground in any sort of social service, church, community organizing know this too well.   But it seems that the President is over-stating what the government can do because you can never over-state the importance of a healthy family.  The lack of healthy family IS the main problem in the hood, causing violence, particularly youth violence.  Single moms and grandmas are the real leaders of East Oakland as they have the MOST power and influence over our lost young men.  Imagine if we could resource and support them, if we could put them up and on, and if they were joined by fathers who would come back into the lives of children and families.  Almost seems impossible.  Nothing can replace a healthy family.  This is the work that the church and non-profits can somehow fill that the government can't begin to touch.  Any doubts?  Go visit the SSI, Welfare, Wic, or any other government social service office.  Although some of the people are wonderful, the system cannot do for people what people need to do for people.  I think God resists the system because the system has become proud and haughty; people look to systems and technology to meet deep humans need.  Nothing can replace a hug, a smile just for you, laughter at the dinner table, a kiss on the cheek good-bye, a note in your lunch saying "mommy loves you!", a parent calling up the UC Chancellor on his disabled daughter's behalf, etc. etc.  A big shout out to those of you filling these rolls even though you ain't blood to people who are lacking blood family like this.  May God give you more grace to walk with them, drive them to where they need to go, answer the phone in the middle of the night, support them financially, go with them to their government appointments, visit them in jail, accompany them to church or Bible study, and whatever else real love and friendship and family would require......