I'm tired. I feel like this has been one of the longest election cycles ever and it's not over yet. On election day I will be voting for President Obama. Although I'm a registered Democrat, I'm not voting for him because I'm following the party line. I'm also not voting for President Obama because he's African-American. I'm voting for him because in my opinion he's the best person for the job and deserves another four years.
One thing I have realized during this election cycle is the depths both parties must go to get their candidate elected.
There are issues with both parties. There is spin on both sides. Do I fault them? No, I fault us, the American people. We have allowed ourselves to be reduced to listening to 30 second sound bites. We have allowed big money to contribute to a point of virtually running the campaigns and setting the agenda. We have become so complacent that we just want somebody to tell us what to do. We have become so focused on the national election that we forget that the rubber hits the road at the local level. Voter suppression, Stand Your Ground laws, and many others happen at the state level, we need to ensure that we are paying close attention to our local elections.
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We’ve heard the stories and seen the statistics about inner-schools and students. Low test scores, low graduation rate, high crime rate, and so on. There has been many ideas suggested and many solutions proposed to addressed these issues. In my opinion the issue has been analyzed to the point of analysis paralysis.
What if the answer is hidden in plain sight? What if the answer is to present positive opportunities to our youth? What if the answer is to provide programs that will allow them to strive and thrive? What if we help them build a positive self-esteem.
Brooklyn Castle is an inspiring and heartwarming film that clearly depicts what can happen when we show our youth that we care.
It has been six months since the launching of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility. As with any new endeavor, there were lessons to be learned and obstacles to overcome. I'm proud to say that we're still here and we're here to stay. We could not have done it without the support of our readers. On behalf of the Marketplace I thank you.
Our stated purpose is to promote and support programs, initiatives, and events that address the needs of African-Americans youth. Our vision is to leverage social media to promote social awareness and social responsibility. We believe that we can create a place where information can be shared, issues discussed, and programs promoted.
Sounds good but what does this really mean?
Human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery.
As reported by Think Progress "The ugly truth is that it is less risky and more profitable to sell a girl than crack cocaine or meth. The U.S. government spends 300 times more money each year to fight drug trafficking than it does to fight human trafficking."
The FBI reports that the terms human trafficking and sex slavery usually conjure up images of young girls beaten and abused in faraway places, like Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa. Actually, human sex trafficking and sex slavery happen locally in cities and towns, both large and small, throughout the United States, right in citizens' backyards.
The majority of these children being sold for sex are girls between the ages of 12 and 14.
How can we as a society allow this to happen? How can we not make this one of our highest priorities as a nation? This is not a political issue, this is a human issue. The lives of many young women are at stake. Why isn't this getting the attention it deserves?
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.