How Those Who Live In the ’Hood Can Save The ’Hood

at Founder, Black Guns Matter posted on September 20, 2016
Damian Strohmeyer

Speaking during the Clinton Global Initiative in June, former President Bill Clinton stated that he wanted masses of Syrian refugees to rebuild Detroit. 

Clinton said: “Detroit has 10,000 empty, structurally sound houses—10,000. And lot of jobs to be had repairing those houses. Detroit just came out of bankruptcy and the mayor’s trying to do an innovative sort of urban homesteading program there. But it just gives you an example of what could be done. And I think any of us who have ever had any personal experience with either Syrian Americans or Syrian refugees think it’s a pretty good deal.”

I don’t know exactly what that Clinton quote means since some politicians practice serious double-talk and speak with forked tongues. It sounds like he’s implying that we should get Syrian refugees to come restore Detroit. My question is, “Why?” We already have people in Detroit who need jobs. We have people coming home from prison who need jobs.

We already have people in Detroit who need jobs. We have people coming home from prison who need jobs. If you are talking about using tax dollars to help with rebuilding Detroit, why not do it for the people that actually live there? Why does Clinton want to bring someone from the outside in? 

I think a lot of these politicians have a vested interest in supporting the outsider because they are more concerned with their own personal investment and not with the community. Take someone who just came home from jail: He or she has just paid a debt to society, and there is a billion dollars in funding for people to fix these homes and later become owners of them. Why not create programs like that for the people of Detroit? When you come home, you have a job. You live in a certain section while you’re working. Then after you’ve held a job for two years, or you do a certain amount of hours, one of these homes becomes yours. Why ask Syrian refugees to build a community in Detroit? 

That might sound like a harsh thing to say, and I might sound like I am being insensitive to Syrian refugees, but I’m not. I’m from hoods like the ones in Detroit. If Clinton is saying we should hire Syrian refugees to do this, that makes no sense to me. You have people in the community who need the jobs—let them do it if they want the jobs. Even if it’s only $8, $9, $10 an hour, when you’re from a community, you have more of a vested interest in maintaining it—especially if you have ownership. 

The question is: Do you want to empower people, or do you just want to look like you’re fixing something because you know you can get some money on the back end? That’s the question. But you ain’t got to go to Syria for that. I totally understand that Syrians are refugees in a catastrophe. Of that there’s no doubt. But you can’t just leave the people of Detroit out of the rebuilding process. 

Brothers and sisters coming home from the penitentiary, who have actively shown improvement in their lives, would love to be in that position. An opportunity for brothers and sisters that are out of jobs, that need work, that would bend over backwards for a piece of the American dream—that’s what works. Even the people of New Orleans who have been displaced yet again by another flood—those are American refugees, and letting them help rebuild Detroit would be practical. I think that’s more impactful, and that’s how we make America great. When you reinforce that with firearm safety knowledge and training, conflict resolution and de-escalation, prosperity follows.

This topic relates to the Black Guns Matter Tour because defending the Second Amendment, defending your freedom of expression and defending your human right to exist ties directly into poverty in our inner cities. When communities are more secure—when there’s less crime, when there’s more community policing, when we are checking ourselves—the neighborhood economy grows. When you reinforce that with firearm safety knowledge and training, conflict resolution and de-escalation, prosperity follows. Because when those things happen, the businesses come back to the ’hood. Then we put money into proper lighting, good streets, good roads, good schools, hospitals. While we’re doing that, the money begins to circulate in that neighborhood because the community is safe, because the community policed itself, because the community can defend itself against tyrants, foreign or domestic. 

Again, this ties in with the Black Guns Matter Tour because it’s not just about guns, it’s about all of the other things that you have to secure with guns. If someone takes your firearm or you think you don’t have the human right to defend yourself by any means necessary, then people can trick you or force you to do what they say. So all of these things—Detroit being rebuilt by people from Detroit, Philadelphia being rebuilt by people from Philadelphia, and Baltimore, Chicago, Compton—all of those different things, when you remove that gentrification component, then you get a lion’s share of what you are supposed to get a lion’s share of, not just the crumbs. Then you have more of a natural instinctive right to defend those things. So all of these things are very holistic. 

That’s the irony of the Black Guns Matter Tour: It actually has less to do with guns, and more to do with knowledge. 

Black Guns Matter Founder Maj Toure is currently in the middle of the 13-city Black Guns Matter Tour, teaching those in America’s inner cities about their Second Amendment rights and their responsibility as gun owners.


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