WAS enough NOT enough before T.D. Jakes' appearance in our city of "Used to Be Brotherly Love"? Was enough NOT enough when Faheem Thomas-Childs lost his life while on his way to school?
I have been a paraplegic since 1981, a gunshot victim. Shot in my back by a 14-year-old.
I'm living proof that not all victims of violence die. Some of us spend the rest of our lives in a wheelchair, living a life you can only imagine. A life you don't want to imagine, which is why our presence often makes you uncomfortable.
So when the first victim fell in 2007, I said, "Enough is enough." Sadly, I've been saying that for far too many years. Still, my pleas for peace have only fallen on deaf ears.
Last year, I rolled myself down Broad Street from West Oak Lane to South Philadelphia carrying a sign that asked, "How many more must die?" I was met with stares and quiet indignation. Not one person I met along the way offered to walk with me. And most of the people I encountered said that while my gesture was "noble," it wouldn't change a thing. It's as though we, the law-abiding citizens of Philadelphia, have simply given up. We have turned our city over to the thugs who have ambushed it and have accepted the fact that there is nothing we can do.
We can scream until doomsday about what the police are not doing. We can sit and wait until doomsday for someone else to solve our problem. My question is addressed to all of you, especially the 5,500 people who sat in attendance to hear T.D. Jakes speak, and the thousands more who wished they could have been there. While his words offered spiritual healing, they have done nothing to solve the problem.
That is because the solution lies with you.
What are you doing to take back your city?
When you see a crime being committed and sit in silence, you are part of the problem, not the solution. When you allow guns and drugs into your home, you are part of the problem, and not the solution. When you abdicate your authority as a parent, you are part of the problem and not the solution.
Thugs and murderers count on the fear you feel in order for them to feel powerful. And you've given them that power. Until you say, "Enough is enough!" and truly mean it, nothing will change.
I plan to do another roll down Broad Street because I'm tired of all the bloodshed in my city.
I'm tired of attending funerals. I am tired of having to look into a child's face and explain to them what the rest of their life will look like from a wheelchair. For me, enough is enough.
When will some of you stand with me in making those words a reality?
Joe Davis Jr.