Over the past week, Memphis has been in the news seemingly non-stop, and not for anything pleasant. It seems our city has been hit again and again with needless acts of violence that continuously lower the public opinion of Memphis. I can not count the number of times over the past seven days that I have heard people claim that this is the reason they would never raise children in Memphis, or why they would never move here.
This troubles me so deeply because, as a Memphis resident, I love this city very much. Many of the breaking news updates have centered around children, either as the victims or the perpetrators. It is the latter that bothers me the most. As a child development major, and a student ministry employee at a local church, I work with the kids in this city every single day. I have the privilege of working with kids in the neighborhood that the Kroger attack took place near. The statistics for kids in this neighborhood are not promising. I believe that the board of education needs to implement a variety of after school programs that provide constructive activities for children in the city. Going further than that, these programs need to be staffed with employees that these children can look up to and feel safe running to in times of need. Many children throughout our city have no one to turn to, or to provide for them. Alongside that, they have no one disciplining them when they do wrong, or demonstrating what is right on a regular basis. Because of this, they form their conscience and their gauge of right versus wrong on the people around them. When the people around them consist only of other children, it brings about the mob mentality that was demonstrated in the Kroger parking lot last week.