by Muada Shakur

We should ask ourselves why Black young men and women are continually asked to keep hope alive in a system that continually denies them opportunity, justice, and adequate information that would help in making informed decisions based on what we know.

The media continues to paint a picture of hostile drug using Black teenagers lurking on dark streets, dodging drive-by-shootings. The perception is a generation of Black Africans who are unproductive in society and a menace to the community. The reality is socially engineered circumstances, exacerbated tensions, and trying to survive in an environment that has always been diametrically opposed to our existence. When the facts are presented, inspire of the perception, the facts are compelling!

The Richmond Times Dispatch 10/11/94 boasted of a $ 1.1 million grant from HUD to be used for public housing to "beef-up" police at $687,900 and only $421,000 to be used for recreational prevention programs. On the same page an article on the National White Collar Crime Center quoted Federal Agent Richard Johnston saying, "most people are more likely to be victims of economic crimes than street crimes. But you hear more about street crimes". The article also said that their Federal grant for the year, which is administered through the Virginia Dept. of Criminal Justice Services, is only $679,000! Propaganda assists in the intentions to criminalize Black youth. Though crime is a natural occurrence with lack of employment and a way to sustain a livelihood, the crime that is experienced as a result of these factors is played up in the media and feeds the atmosphere of racial fears and hides the deteriorated and dilapidated conditions of the inner cities that are allowed to run its course.

To encourage the building of low-income housing the Federal Government provided money to local, state, and city housing authorities. The private ownership of housing projects and who they are is rarely if ever discussed. HUD guarantees their mortgages so the owners investments are risk free; additionally HUD also pays the rent for poor tenants in the form of rent subsidies or section 8 which is paid to housing authorities who in turn pay it out to the projects private owners. This guarantees a yearly annual income of Billions of dollars for project owners. It is ironic that super wealth is made in the business of housing poor people. All the dirt and propaganda that is dumped on welfare recipients and project tenants only serves to mask the Billions of dollars in profits that are made in housing the poor.

Since HUD guarantees the mortgage lenders their money upfront, there is no incentive for the owners to maintain the property. So when tenants leave the projects, discouraged from living in unmaintained conditions and years of neglect, the owners ultimately abandon the property leaving HUD as the owner.

The Bruce Rozet Group is the dominant low-income and public housing owners with 50,000 apartments, 25,000 residences across 40 states and took in $500,000,000 in tax credits and millions in rent subsidies. The Rozet Group was indicted for fraud during the HUD scandal of the Reagan administration. Rozet helped write key sections of HUD housing laws. Rozet partners are D.Earl Ross and Stephen Moses the finance co-chairman of the Democratic party and major fund raiser for Al Gore in 1988 and Paul Tsongas in 1992, also for Jessie Jackson in 1988. The Rozet Group were the major fund raisers for the National Democratic party for 2 decades.(wash post 8/31/92)

In a rarely mentioned study printed in "Social Science & Medicine" vol.39 1994 entitled "Violence in American Cities" ,conducted by the Dept. of Urban Studies & Rutgers University, says that ghettoization and concentrating unwanted people in unwanted land areas increases the frequency of violent encounters. The term TOADS is used to describe Temporarily Obsolete Abandoned Derelict Sites for areas with boarded up buildings ,empty warehouses, railroad stations, and housing projects. In a similar study conducted at Georgia State (Criminal Justice Review v.18 Autumn 1993 p.182) entitled "Poverty, Income Inequality, and Violent Crime" concluded that poverty and income inequality are associated with violent crime and even more so with homicide.

Jessie Jackson in his "Breaking the Code of Silence" campaign, where he advocates stopping the bad Black brother and encouraging teens to turn in their classmates who are toting guns or using dope, could not figure the Rozet Group into his anti-crime focus. In that same article (UPI 1/2/94) the Martila & Kiley research firm found 38% of respondents agreed that "Blacks are more prone to violence than people of other races".

In a landmark case in St. Louis (UPI 2/28/94) Senior U.S. District Court judge Clyde Cahill ruled that part of the Federal Government war on drugs is unconstitutional. Cahill's decision involves the Federal sentencing law that considers 50 grams of crack cocaine the same as 5 thousand grams of powdered cocaine. The 100 to 1 ratio results in longer prison sentences for crack offenders, most of whom are Black, a mandatory 10 years in prison. Cahill wrote in his ruling that if the crack law applied to powdered cocaine many white offenders would be sentenced to extended prison terms. Cahill also provided figures for 1989-1992 where Blacks were the defendants in 55 of the 57 Federal crack cases prosecuted in St. Louis. Nation wide about 93% of crack defendants are Black.

In the Washington Post 6/4/94 Ronald Mincy of youth employment at the Ford foundation after warning that persistent levels of unemployment are leading to an alienation of Black youth from the larger economy, aggravating other social problems. "I think it is obvious that if these kids don't get a foothold in the legitimate economy, we can expect a fair number of them to turn to hustling of some kind. The Labor Dept. surveyed for May showed that only 36% of Black teens were active in the labor market, compared with 57% of whites


Wall St. Journal 9/14/93 showed that "only Blacks" suffered net job loss at the companies reporting to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission while whites, Hispanics, and Asians gained thousands of jobs. The computer aided study obtained from the U.S. Government shows that the Nations largest Corporations shed Black employees at the most disproportionate rate.

And after weeks of debate Richmond City Council couldn't come up with $40,000 to keep the OIC (Opportunities Industrialization Center) open, which provides job training, work experience, and job placement assistance. The program was cut after it couldn't account for $218,000. Of the $518,000 budget 43% went to salaries and benifits.(Rich T.Disp 10/11/94) Meanwhile the United way Services has raised $10 million this year with $1.3 million coming from Phillip Morris. Approximately $377,000 was raised just from the South Side for the United Way on who's board sits the City Manager Robert Bobb. The time has come to discard the rhetoric and to analyze the facts for ourselves.