When You Can No Longer Watch Your City Bleed, What Do You Do?

WHEN YOU CAN NO LONGER SIT BACK AND WATCH YOUR CITY BLEED—YOU ASK THE COMMUNTIY TO DOTHERIGHTTHINGSUMMA

I remember my pink Huffy bike… tassels doing flips around my wrist and my cousin Justice punching me in the arm at the end of the block and taking it…

I remember running up and down my block, once…flipping so high and landing on my ass that I thought I shattered something on the concrete slab, but my entire family on the block that day laughed…skinned knees, no talk of SATs, but there was life there…

I remember Mr. Boomburger and Solidarity Day at the park…I remember the drive through, off the slow because everybody was in the park, wheels shinning…kids playing.

I remember my block in Trenton, New Jersey, because it was one of the major strips to hit on a dedicated drive through every afternoon. Down the Blvd (that was my block), right on Pennington, cut through Frasier, turn up Stuyvesant Ave, quick left down Hoffman, dip through Sanhican Drive, return from the back end through the Hiltonia section and come on around SLOW by the park while trying to decide if you either were going to turn left for the projects (Roger Gardens) or right to Rosemont…either way, my city was LIT. Every side…all the time.

“Cars ride by with the booming system,” LL Cool J once rapped. North Trenton raised me – and even though I got involved into things way too early, way too fast – I was never too grown to stand in line at the ice-cream truck. I was still a Trenton kid at heart—yup, the hood raised me.

Over time, we witnessed slight alterations to the way we lived until there was nothing left of the way we were…we bred children who were hell bent on killing one another, fighting over concrete slabs of corner that belong to them – NOT. And we said nothing, stayed silent, closed our blinds and protected the ones we said wanted to be saved, but aren’t they all ours Aren’t the children who were raised in the hoods populated by US, decedents of US? You think they’re monsters, but they are OUR monsters.

When I left Trenton in 2007 there were 25 murders per 100,000 residents. In 2014 there were 32. The violent crime rate in Trenton was at 358.4 while the entire US population averaged 302.2, that number more than doubled to 624.5 by 2014. Trenton, NJ had surpassed Detroit. We were getting attention for murder!

There is a Violence Reduction Strategy initiative that cost the city $1.1 million dollars, and yet my girlfriend’s son was just murdered last month. I guess we know how well it’s working.

I can assume that a lot of that $1.1 million went to overhead because from the red river that continues to flow in the street, they are not reaching the right people! What my city needs is its people to remember what loving our community feels like…and acceptance that no one dropped a bag of bad children in our HOOD, we bred those monsters, so it’s time we reign them in.

And then it came to me…an IDEA, that connects the community through their own talent and ability to make a difference in a life that they can touch. Tangible change. I thought, “We need to get together and #DOTHERIGHTTHING, and my husband Malik Rhasaan said, SUMMA., we need to…#DOTHERIGHTHINGSUMMA babe…and it took so it began.

I got on my laptop and started asking talented people to share their talent. Like Kasso, who is one of the most talented artist within the 7.5 square miles of the entire area that is Trenton NJ, or my nephew Black Collar Biz, who is an extraordinary rapper, thinker, motivator, father and family man. That last part is the part I like to share the most, because he lives what we need more of in the black community. Fathers who are loving co-parents to their children and loving partners to their mates.

Kasso is facilitating an Art Workshop and Collar, the Music.

I came humbly to the friends and family who remain in my hometown and I asked, “IF WE COULD REMEMBER WHAT COMMUNTIY FELT LIKE, WOULD WE GO BACK TO THE WAY WE WERE? WE NEED YOU, I screamed to the men from my community. WE LOVE YOU to my sisters. It can’t be done without all of us, and this is bigger than any of us as individuals.
DO THE RIGHT THING SUMMA is a reminder! A memory that should be introduced to our offspring…a reminder of COMMUNITY that we have somehow forgotten…and need to remember.

You don’t need a uniform, a tam, and leather vest or an attitude…you don’t need to know the ISMs, proclaim that you understand that the revolution will not be televised, while preaching revolution through a LIVE FEED on your FB page…

#dotherightthingsumma is a jumping out the car on the block for an impromptu double-dutch session… LIVE with LAUGHTER…

#dotherightthingsumma is coming outside to one stick of chalk with a card tied to it by twine that says “REMEMBER” because you need to…

#dotherightthingsumma is elders and young people shortening the gap…opening a dialogue…building relationships and establishing life long bonds.

#dotherightthingsumma is FREE to all who attend workshops and discussions.

#DOTHERIGHTTHINGSUMMA IS US…AND Its TIME WE TAKE OWNERSHIP FOR WHAT WE NEGLECTED AND BEGIN TO HEAL A CITY THAT CRYING BLOOD IN OUR STREETS.

It’s TIME TO WIPE OUR EYES AND #DOTHERIGHTHING…ALWAYS, BUT WE CAN START WITH THE SUMMA.

DO THE RIGHT THING SUMMA IS JULY 9, 16, 23, AND 30TH IN TRENTON, NJ and includes, MUSIC, ART, CAKE DECORATING, SCREEN-PRINTING, MENTAL HEALTH AND NON-VIOLENCE WORKSHOPS. ALL FACILITATED AND FUNDED BY BLACK PEOPLE WHO LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!