A video featuring former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis condemning black on black violence and passionately calling for positive cultural change has gone viral.
The video was posted by Lewis over the weekend on his Facebook page.
I found myself back in my prayer room. I found my spirit very disturbed by everybody’s preparing for the Final Four March Madness. Things that ran in the newspapers have disturbed me.
I'm trying to figure out if black lives really matter. In Chicago alone the murder rate has soared 72 percent in 2016 -- 88 percent in the first three months of 2016 compared to last year. I'm trying to ask the question to an organization of black lives, if they really mattered, then why not riot now?
There was 141 murders this year, 82 murders last year at the same time. I’m trying to figure out in my mind why no one is paying attention to black men killing black men. Why we always find ourselves as the victims. And now we have the separation once again that we’re being victimized because of one bad white cop, two bad white cops, three bad white cops killing a young black bother. But every day we have black on black crime killing each other.
Police in Chicago reported 677 shootings this year, last year it was 359. March murder rate rose by 29 percent but we’re not rioting in the streets when black on black crime are killing each other. I’m trying to figure out how, how the month of March, there’s more murders in the month of March in Chicago than there are days in the month. 45 murders in the month in Chicago. There was 271 shooting incidents. I’m trying to stop to ask this one simple thing: when will we appreciate who we are? When will our skin color start paying attention to our own skin color? When will we stop crying that black live smatter, because God says, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, I am creator of all, and all come up under me with my spirit,” which means color means nothing. "I am King, I will live as King," but we have found our way distracted.
We found our way distracted because things we’re not paying attention to. The murders in 2015 to 2016 just to compare in Chicago 2015 should be sad enough. 2015 there was 34 murders. 2016 there was 45. From January 1 to March 31 there was 82 murders in 2015 there was 141 in 2016. Let’s just talk about the shootings. The shootings in 2015 there was 179, 2016 there was 271. January 1 to March 31 the shootings alone, 2015 there was 359, 2016 there was 677. The shooting victims in 2015, it was 204. In 2016 it’s 319.
From January 1 to March 31 it was 411 in 2015 there’s 677 murders in 2016. And I’m trying to ask, what’s the problem? I was asked if I was an elected official, what would I do to stop some of this violence? I would put barrels on each corner and I would give you 30 days to drop all illegal weapons in these barrels, and if you found yourself going outside of that, the moment I found you, well then that’s 25 years mandatory. There’s not more having conversations, because what’s starting to happen now, is we’re starting to confuse our kids. Our kids don’t know which way to walk the streets, we got babies in Baltimore being shot in the middle of the streets, they’re on their front porch and they’re being shot. We got a family of five to six sitting in the backyard having a barbecue and the whole entire family gets executed, but we keep screaming black lives matter.
If they really matter, then let’s do ourselves a favor, let’s stop killing black folks. Let’s take it way back, to when we once understood what slavery was all about. Slavery was about togetherness and understanding we must overcome together – not that we must separate ourselves to highlight our skin color. If you want to highlight our skin color, highlight the people that’s doing the successful things in the community that we should be highlighting, and it ain’t all athletics, athletics come a dime a dozen, but the impact of your journey and the things that we supposed to be doing, you’re supposed to be leaving an impact to change people’s lives. One day God won’t ask how many Super Bowls I’ve won, how many tackles I’ve made, or how many interceptions I have. He will ask a simple question: how many lives have I changed?
Oh, our comfort zone must be disturbed. We got music now that kids can’t listen to with their parents. We got rated-R shows that [are] showing things, that kids have a way, social media has took us way beyond where we’re supposed to be…we’ve let kids now dictate what they can do and who they can be and what they will ultimately be.
I found myself disturbed. Whether I’m right or wrong, there’s facts, there’s numbers. Men and women lie, but numbers don’t. Numbers don’t lie. And what’s going on in Chicago right now – if you write music, change the thought process, change the language, stop insulting women. We’ve all got our struggles. There’s nothing about me that’s perfect. I’m a struggling man every day of my life to walk the right path. I haven’t figured it all out yet. But I figured out enough to say that there’s something that I’m supposed to pass along that don’t go through my same struggles. Let’s write something different, let’s give these lost children something to really envision.
I cried today to say I’m not a perfect man, and I have my failures, just like anyone else. But I guess the question is: are you helping, or are you serving? You can help anybody, you can give your money away to help any cause, but to serve, to serve you must come out of your comfort zone.
There’s too many brothers killing each other. And brothers if I had one message for you man, stop and check the pulse of the person before you pull the trigger, and realize that they are alive, and everybody you hurt, you will be accounted for.
Man, I’m talking, foolish people on social media, the things that they say, that’s pure ignorance. Evil exists. Social media has become the devil’s playhouse. Because it has foolish ignorant people who can hide behind captions of children and pictures and funny things and insult people who’s actually doing something. But one day we will all be held accountable. And brothers, if nobody else won’t scream to you, I’m gonna scream to you. I know black lives matter, ‘cause I’m a black man. But man, stop killing each other.
Man, we got to put these guns down in Chicago, Baltimore, Miami. Man, it ain’t that hard, man. Man you got to be OK with earning a right living, man. It ain’t supposed to be easy. Man's days on this earth will be short and filled with trouble, But right now man we losing the battle. A third of the Afro-American population is behind bars. 50 percent are behind bars because they took the life of another black man.
Sooner or later, black men, if we don’t change what we’re doing, not only will our kids not have a future, but we might find ourselves extinct.