Moreland detailed a program at Washington Hospital Center that offers a real perspective on what happens when bad choices are made. The program shows the attempt used to save a life and the instruments used in the process. Youth are then taken to the morgue and shown the bodies of the dead in close relation to the age of the youth. After the tour they are taken to an auditorium and given a graphic presentation of the trauma witnessed in the hospital's emergency room.
Ron Harris, an advocate for DC Jobs or Else, voiced his concern that opportunities for employment are not being given to those who desire work. African-American men seeking construction work are being told they need to be trained to move dirt from one spot to another or to put a flag up to halt a truck or stop traffic.
He spoke of the construction projects in southeast and the amount of money being dispensed for those projects without African American employees. It is Mr. Harris' belief that "as African Americans in DC we are being pushed to Prince Georges County. If you don't have a job you can't pay your rent and all of the safety net programs have been cut which means you can't get any kind of rent assistance" and so this "is telling us we have to get the hell out of here."
Our forefathers who were enslaved African Americans built the U.S. Capitol and people come from all around to marvel at this great sculpture and they weren't train and didn't go to a training center. Now, they are telling us that we can't build apartment buildings unless you go to training. I see hypocrisy in that. As long as we can do it for free it is okay but when we want a job with benefits -- a life sustaining job where I can feed my family, I need training. All I want is an opportunity."
Most notable at the Town Hall were the number of men who attended. Rev. Dr. William H. Bennett, II, a minister at Good Success Christian Church and Ministries in Ward 7, who will be announcing his candidacy for Ward 7 Council in September, said "Black men do care despite what is reflected in the media."
As for the solutions raised at this meeting, Prince Taylor, 42, says "people are hurting at the core of their being. Meetings like this is a starting point and the follow-up and follow-through must be intentional in order to bear the fruit."