Folks, "War" has been declared. And I for one am happy the fight is finally being taken to the aggressor. I'm not talking about a war in a far-away country. This war has been largely one-sided for years, and it's in the streets of many East Texas neighborhoods. I'm talking about teenage crime and gangs. But I want you to know about some brave, determined people who are giving these thugs fits right now.
Mayor Jay Dean Longview and the Longview Ministerial Alliance, Neighbors in Sand Hill, and folks in the Butler College area of Tyler, are taking a pro-active stance and sending a very strong message, reclaiming their neighborhoods. They're not blaming law enforcement. They aren't pointing fingers at the "system." They're standing up saying "bring it on!" I attended a community meeting a couple of weeks ago in Tyler the biggest in recent memory, according to Tyler's Chief of Police. These people were passionate and determined. And I applaud them for that. I urge you to take a moment and watch the meeting. Excerpts can be seen on our website and it's worth your time, because these leaders need our support.
I've determined, one of the best places to start is in our junior high schools... when the urge to join these gangs usually begins.
I challenge every middle school to come up with a program that creates opportunities for responsible, caring adults to volunteer and get involved in these children's lives. If you're a middle school leader and you accept this challenge, you let me know and we'll help you publicize it. If the idea's good enough we may even want to feature you in our news.
And If you can't get your school leaders to respond to this challenge we want to hear from you too.
Our children are our future and we are going to have to work together with our schools, law enforcement and churches to make this a Better East Texas.