A Word from Mack
Volume 21, Issue 2
It was the end of the summer of ’93. Equipped with a pitcher of ice water and armed with a yellow legal pad and a ball-point pen, I spent three mornings in a row under the big picnic umbrella out on our deck in a one person “retreat.” My marching orders came directly from the morning newspaper and the evening television news as well as hearing the moans of my friends. To me, it was like hearing both Taps and Reveille at one and the same time.
It had been a summer ﬁlled with drive-by shootings, drug arrests, and disasters in family life all combining in the saddest ever citywide funeral cortège slowly winding its way through every soul and street draping us in black crepe. Taps …the nighttime is upon us.
Now I can say it. In those three days, I not only heard the soulful sound of the twilight, I just as surely was jerked awake by the crackle of a bugle playing Reveille …wake up and get up. So I was out on my deck with pen and paper in hand to muster some solution that could model a city rising to wholeness for others to see.
Trust me. I wasn’t sitting out there as an inventor. I wish I was that smart and creative. But I am simply not. No, I was just there as a “recording secretary” with my yellow legal pad taking the minutes of the answers of all the generations that had gone before. Think of the genuinely revealed answers to our seemingly intractable problems of just getting along together that have come down to us over the ages. This is truly the music of the human race coming from a Loving Source. And think of the wisdom of your grandma and grandpa in how to grow and how to give in order to be the “greatest generation.” This is surely the poetry of citizenship coming from lives well lived in obedience to a higher Creative Power.
Yep. All I did was record the music and the poem, and let you all put them together in a song that we titled Community Renewal. You know the song – move dedicated and caring people into the highest crime areas to live and to love in their Friendship Houses. How could it not be a hit?
A hit? Just look at the evidence: In his latest book, Policy Walking: Lighting Paths to Safer Communities, Stronger Families & Thriving Youth, John Calhoun, founder of the National Crime Prevention Council, devotes an entire chapter to Community Renewal International as an answer for our cities’ plight.
Just look at the evidence: Almost a 1,000 people from 210 cities and 11 countries have come to see this model in action. In that number count a former U.S. President, U.S. Senators and Representatives, university presidents, CEO’s, mayors, governors, and leaders of foundations. And now other cities and countries are singing the song of renewal.
And look at the evidence from the Shreveport Police Department’s latest Statistical Crime Data Study of CRI’s four 30-square-block “test plots” for reconstructing the caring foundation of our city which we call Friendship House Areas: A staggering 51% average drop in Major Crime (homicide, assault, armed robbery, etc.) and a 54% average drop in “Quality of Life Crime” (vandalism, theft, narcotics, etc)!
This study was just handed to me. They started with each area the year before we opened the Friendship House and brought it forward to 2015. So we now have the evidence before us. Evidence that compels a verdict! Caring alone cannot cure our cities, but caring together can!
We are forming the Safe City Support Team. You are going to be asked to join with us! Please say “Yes.” You see, you and I must become the bugle itself, blowing Reveille for our nation and our world!