Black group tackles race violence
Philadelphia — A report by The Grassroot Network, composed of black storefront organizations and the National black Police Association, says racial violence in the nation's cities may get even worse than it was in the 1960s, because people in troubled areas, particularly the young, are losing hope. It adds that this summer's riots were led by the young, "and the violence has shifted to youths of younger and younger age."
After the Miami riots, the Network began a campaign for better child welfare services and juvenile justice programs, and new police policies.
"Black amd minority people do not start riots," the Network said. "They only become participants. . . . They usually are catalyzed by a po lice incident, which may range from a perception of police misconduct to the actual use of deadly force."
Network suggestions to help curb urban unrest include:
-- Grass-roots people working with police to monitor tension.
-- A minimum of police in tense areas, and the avoidance of flashing red lights.
-- Community review of city transportation and recreation policies.
-- Members of youth organizations, wearing informal apparel and equipped with hand radios, acting as neighborhood security patrols.
-- Imposition of curfews only where there is total lawlessness.
The report comes shortly after a warning by NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks to black leaders from 34 cities that racial riots "can happen in any city tonight or tomorrow," attributing unrest in part to inadequate housing, unemployment, police insensitivity, lack of recreation facilities, and insufficient responses from elected officials.