At the end of January, a 6-month-old baby was killed in Atlanta by a stray bullet. Earlier in the month, a 5-year-old in a car was stuck by gunfire as two drivers shot at each other.
These incidents were just in Atlanta alone, as CNN reported.
#HappeningNow: “Even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you”. The grandfather of 6 month old Grayson Fleming-Gray speaks about the death of his Grandson. A vigil was held for this afternoon for Grayson. Live coverage on @wsbtv at six. pic.twitter.com/FiAIhStv3i
— Ashli Lincoln WSB-TV (@AshliLincoln) January 30, 2022
In New York City on Jan. 19, an 11-month-old girl was struck by a stray bullet while sitting in a parked car. She ended up in the hospital in critical but stable condition, The New York Times reported.
Homicides have skyrocketed over the past year. In 2021, several cities hit new records for murders, The Wall Street Journal reported. But children are increasingly becoming the victims of these violent crimes.
In 2021, 311 children died from gun violence in the United States, the Gun Violence Archive reported.
That is a 48 percent increase from the 210 children who were shot to death in 2019.
E.W. Jackson is a voice for change in American communities and has founded and overseen a number of organizations that are fighting for change in a deteriorating culture. Most recently, he started several projects to address rising violence in inner cities and to support families of children who were victims of violence.
Jackson served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Harvard Law School, studied at Harvard Divinity School and has served as a minister for decades.
He also founded Staying True to America’s National Destiny, a nonprofit whose goal is “to bring Americans together across racial and cultural lines to preserve our Judeo-Christian values and heritage.”
Now, in response to the spike in violent crimes across the nation, Jackson has founded the Awakening Hearts and Minds project, the Gallery of Forgotten Children and the Murdered Children’s Fund, a GoFundMe to help parents with funeral expenses for their murdered children and raise awareness about what is happening.
“And while there are stories about individual incidents like this one, very few people are connecting the dots to realize that this is a plague that swept the land. Innocent children — because of the brazenness of these crimes and the lawlessness of people who just don’t seem to care who gets hurt in the process — innocent children … are having their lives snatched away, ” he told The Western Journal.
The Gallery of Forgotten Children that Jackson started is a memorial of photos of all the children who were made victims since 2020. The number keeps growing, he said, with about 10 more pictures of children added every month.
Meanwhile, the Murdered Children’s Fund helps the parents of these victims pay for funeral expenses.
“We’ve talked to many parents and what they tell us is for the first few days, there’s a lot of attention. But then it goes away and we’re left with all the responsibilities of trying to bury our child, trying to get through the process,” Jackson said.
But Jackson is also looking to fix the root causes of this violence and the deterioration in our culture that is leading to horrors such as babies being shot to death.
Through the Awakening Hearts and Mind Project, STAND and more, he is trying to bring attention and solutions to the false narrative about the police, the breakdown of the family and the lack of responsibility that is spreading through communities.
Jackson said a driving factor behind the rise in violent crimes has been the antipathy encouraged against law enforcement.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt whatsoever that what’s driven this is the vilification of police officers as racists, as people who just habitually use excessive force, that are lawless, that are out targeting black folks,” he said.
Jackson said it’s a false narrative that law enforcement is just targeting anyone who is black. As a black man, he said, he has never had an issue with police officers because he is not a criminal and has treated them with respect.
He talked about the May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, for which fired officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder.
“I tell people all the time, I believe that, that Derek Chauvin belongs in jail for what happened to George Floyd. But George Floyd was no hero. George Floyd was passing counterfeit [money]. … He was a methamphetamine and a fentanyl addict. I mean, this is nobody to emulate. This is nobody to be looking up to,” Jackson said.
“What happened to him was tragic, but had he not been doing any of those things, what happened to him never would have happened, because he never would have put himself in the position where something like that could happen here again,” he added.
Jackson said that while Black Lives Matter and others are claiming the police are oppressive, our society absolutely needs law enforcement.
“We need police officers doing their jobs, and they need the support of the community in doing it,” he said. “They’re not out trying to hurt people. They’re trying to save lives. …
“Yes, they do deserve to be honored. They want us to honor George Floyd, who was a criminal, because of the way he died, and dishonor these police officers who live law-abiding lives and spent their lives, gave their lives, trying to save the lives of others.”
Jackson said there are a number of battles that have to be fought in order to break this thinking and renew communities.
First, he said, trust needs to be built between the police and communities, which is one of the things that his organizations are working on. Jackson has been talking to ministers and other leaders in communities that will help foster trust in law enforcement again.
“You need to build ongoing trust when there is no crisis so that people are talking to one another, so that when the police step up in a very difficult situation, people aren’t automatically saying, ‘Well, we don’t trust them.’ But trust has been built and leaders can step up and say, ‘I trust this chief, I trust this captain. I trust this precinct, this department,'” Jackson said.
Without trust in law enforcement, things will only keep deteriorating. Children and babies will keep being killed in the streets as crime rises and the police won’t be able to stop it since no one trusts them.
“The more police are attacked, the more police retire and resign, the more we have a recruitment crisis where people don’t want to be police at the numbers that they once did — the worse crime is getting, and these children are the most innocent victims,” Jackson said.
That is why it is essential to start changing communities so that they will trust law enforcement, take responsibility and rebuild society.
“The police are important to maintaining the safety of these streets and the safety of their children, so they can live and work and go to school without fearing that they’re going to be gunned down while engaged in some innocent activity,” Jackson said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.