|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Charita Goshay — PEEPS wants to be part of the solution

  • A growing circle of concerned friends is drawing a line in the sand against the self-destructive pathology plaguing many of Canton’s young adults.

    • email print
  • A growing circle of concerned friends is drawing a line in the sand against the self-destructive pathology plaguing many of Canton’s young adults.
    PEEPS — Pursuing Education and Enlightening People with Solutions — will convene its first town hall at 6 p.m. Monday at the Cantonian Restaurant at 1076 O’Jays Parkway NE.
    “It’s a social network movement,” Samuel Muhammad said of the core group of about 30. “It grew out of a Facebook dialogue, which led to face-to-face meetings.”
    They’re worried about a generation that may not fare better than their grandparents. The drug- and gang-related violence, and the imprisonment and deaths that follow, have become a kind of slow-motion suicide, an expression of despair that is ignored until another incident demands that attention be paid.
    FINDING SOLUTIONS
    Muhammad, an American government and black history teacher at Timken High School, said the goal of PEEPS is not to replicate the efforts of existing groups and agencies but to support what they’re already doing.
    “We seek to edify and strengthen programs that already exist, that are effective, to make them more powerful and make their reach broader,” he said. “We want them to be able to help more people.”
    Muhammad said the black community must find its own solutions to problems, such as the disproportionate number of black men in jail and black children in foster care.
    “We want some intercultural dialogue, first and foremost,” he said. “There also must be a connectedness to work together to plan solutions that will help revitalize a weakened part of society.
    “What makes this group different is, once we come up with solutions, we’re going to go into the neighborhoods and take our ideas with us.”
    MEGATRENDS
    Muhammad said Canton’s problems are not isolated but rather are part of a megatrend seen in cities across the country.
    Common problems include economic disparity, the infiltration of drugs and gangs, a decline in influence by civic leaders and a sense of community being displaced by self-centeredness.
    “Media images have helped create this negative trend,” he said. “The positive leadership of the ‘60s and ‘70s has been replaced with the gang culture and false machismo. You have young men thinking it’s better to pursue strength rather than avenues of education.”
    A second, midsummer meeting has been scheduled for July 19.
    “We want to produce our own solutions,” Muhammad said. “If we work together, think together, plan together, we can produce a change in this society.”
    For more information about PEEPs or the town hall, call 330-956-8417 or 330-313-5317.