Feedback continues from the Brick City story. A lengthy letter is from reader Teresa Mullins if after the jump:
I read the article in the paper yesterday about Brick City and was stumped. I have been a volunteer there for almost a year now, and have had no experience but pleasant the entire time. The kids are not allowed to hang around outside during or after the club, the police and security pat everyone down and use a metal detector. They are also roaming inside the club to keep it safe for everyone inside as well as outside. The kids are not allowed to wear rags, or use gang signs either. We, the volunteers and the volunteer children meet there friday nights at about 8 p.m. so everyone is served a good meal, but before we eat, there is announcements followed by prayer then everyone gets to eat. We then break up into “small groups” to discuss important topics and a biblical comparison and guidance to solve the problem or decision making. The kids readily accept and participate in this. No one is forced to join a church or forced into conversation about religion either, but it is readily available should anyone have an interest. The group leaders are adults and ready, able, and more than willing to help ANY child in ANY kind of need whatsoever, be it housing, food, clothing, job, home life, drug addiction, alcohol problems, teen sex issues – all issues plagueing young lives today. They are helped with abstinence contracts, counseling, medical and dental referrals, and most important of all – a loving shoulder, educated guidance, and a long-suffering ear. We also have a computer lab that the children have safe monitored access to any time of a working day to do research for school, apply for scholarships, and socialize.
The complaints about kids selling drugs, hanging around outside “frightening” people is ludicris. Absolutly false. There is NO hanging around outside, as I stated earlier, and the Tacoma Police Department are everywhere, literally, parked out on the street. If Brick City were not here, how safe would that street be on a Friday and Saturday night? The police would no longer be there, as well as the Brick City Security detail. We give a huge presence to any criminal ANYWHERE in that area, and because of that, it is probably one of the safest area’s in downtown Tacoma. So to say you fear for your life or property is merely your way of saying you fear all black children out in groups. The fact that young white children, that hang around the bus depots do not inspire fear in you, but young black children enjoying hip-hop music and each other in a social setting terrifies you, speaks volumes. We have, for 20 years, at least, been abandoning and negleting low income youths of any color and shoving them out to their way, and now we have been paying the price. These people just promote that continuing. No one wants to take responsibility or help these children out. World Vision has been helping for years, successfully I might add. No, they don’t have or sell drugs anywhere near Brick City. No, there is nobody drinking inside or out. No, there is no hanging around outside during or after the club. And the police presence and tight security makes it the safest place to be in Tacoma on a Friday night. Where is the problem? Look into a mirror and you will see it.
Last night I was outside with security several times, and on two occassions that I witnessed, very drunk patrons of the local restaruants and pubs, came up to security, saying “We are going to shut you down”. We could hardly understand what these people were saying they were so drunk. They also could barely walk. I could not believe it. Isn’t there a law that says bartenders could not serve people when they appeared too drunk? These people passed that point at least an hour prior. So, these surrounding buisinesses are letting people leave their establishments, to possibly drive home, drunk out of their minds, but we cannot have a safe, healthy, place for youths to come and hang out with their friends? Hipocricy. Kinda smells like racisim too.
So, in closing, I would like to thank you for letting me give a rebuttal to the continuing bad press of Brick City. Where were these business owners and patrons when we invited them to the club last Friday? A City Counsel member, and community leaders that did show up were extremly impressed by the security, atmosphere, positive messages, and most of all, the kids. The kids were friendly, kind, intelligent, and being, simply put, just kids having a good time, without dope, ciggerettes, sex, and drinking. Stunning, I know, but true! These are good kids without a safe place to hang out, and that is exactly what we offer. Would you prefer they hang on the streets, unsupervised? We all know what happens with that.
In closing, I would like the business owners to consider what has happened the last 20 years or so since we started pushing the kids out of our sight and being only concerned with our own interests. That approach of abandonment and neglect, even though they are not our kids, has wrecked terrible tragedy on society today. Stop being selfish and lets change the course of history by supporting kids in their struggles to stay on track with school, college, jobs, and acceptable social behavior. We all pay the price when we refuse to participate in ALL kids’ future.
UPDATE: Teresa e-mailed and asked to add this:
I went to Club Impact on Saturday night and was surprised to see so many kids, white kids, before and during the club. They were not doing anything wrong, just hanging out during breaks when the bands changed, but, as with Club Friday on Friday nights, the kids were all right in front of the club, and no one was fighting, selling or buying drugs, nor were they threatening in any manner. The kids were just as well behaved as they are on Friday night.