Al Sharpton has started a new movement to combat inner city violence. For the last four weeks, the MSNBC Politics Nation host has been overseeing a movement that monitors different corners in the city between the hours of 11pm and 1am.
Having just preached in Detroit to get people to take action and join his movement, Sharpton spoke to a group of people in Harlem. Amongst the crowd gathered, were members and volunteers from his National Action Network .
Speaking to the crowd, Sharpton said,
“We’ve got to take that veneer of ‘I want to be a thug, that gets me respect’ to where it doesn’t get you respect.”
Sharpton’s intention is to involve members of the community in his Occupy the Corners, or OTC movement so that violence will start to decrease in their communities. With New York as a starting point, Sharpton plans to grow the movement and hopes that it will spread across the country. Philadelphia and Chicago are specific cities of interest for Sharpton to grow the movement, especially in light of the recent tragedy in Chicago where 19 people were shot in a span of 30 minutes, one day in August.
According to Sharpton, the rise in violent crimes can be attributed to people having easy access to guns in the communities that are experiencing the high crime rates. Sharpton also says that at the root of the crimes are feelings of self-hate He points out that people find it easier to kill people that look like them, hence the high incidence of Black-on-black crime.
“The solution is we’ve got to get the guns out of the community, and we’ve got to change the attitude of the kids. When you talk to 13-year-old children and they know where to get a gun, we have a crisis.”
Sharpton also expressed his hope that President Obama would get involved in the movement to reduce the violence in inner cities saying,
“Obama’s trying not to wake up the gun lobby against him, which is politically wise, but he’s got to speak about it. I would hope after the election, he’ll even be more aggressive.”