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July 18th, 2012

Where is our compassion for those in need?

Lillie Howard
The grand jury has found the two police officers who murdered Michael Lembhard  “not guilty!” Wow! 15 shots fired, eight in the back, but not guilty? How is that possible? Did Michael Lembhard’s life mean nothing to that grand jury? Evidently, Michael’s life has not meant much to many, judging by the silence coming forth from the Newburgh community regarding this horrible incident. Why? Is it because this family is looked upon as being poor white trash? Or is it because they have chosen to mingle with the African American community?

The NAACP and the Christian community have been silent about this incident. Why? It’s not surprising, as they have remained silent during many other police tragedies in the City of Newburgh. In fact, they have been silent on many issues affecting the poor, namely the mismanagement of millions of HUD dollars that were supposed to be used to turn the poverty in our community around. Could the silence be because of the Faith Base funds that continuously come into our community from HUD or do they just not care because these police murders aren’t happening to their children?

The bible says “with loving kindness have I drawn thee” therefore I ask, where is the love? The bible says that the poor will be with us always, to which I ask, where is the concern for them? How can one say that they love them and are concerned about them when there is such silence regarding the programs never being put in place to help them get their lives back together.

The real sad part in all of this is that food pantries and hand me down clothes are thought to be the only things that the poor need in this community. The powers that be complain about crime but not the lack of jobs, which could help to lower the crime rate. Every year they hold programs to honor Dr. King, but after the programs are over we revert to business as usual. I know that Dr. King is disappointed that his dream has not evolved into a reality by now.

It saddens my heart the way compassion can be shown towards others but not shown towards our own. Namely, I was in awe when I watched News Twelve recently and the story of Mary Kennedy, the wife of Robert Kennedy, committing suicide by hanging herself was continuously broadcast. One of the reasons stated for her actions was the financial pressure she was under, which caused her to turn to alcohol and possibly medicine to ease her depression. Wow! My heart goes out to her family but my heart is also saddened because when poor people turn to drugs to escape their problems they get no sympathy. They’re called animals and told to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. I could go on and on about how differently the poor are treated when they fall down, but it would only fall on deaf ears. If you don’t believe me, check out and see how badly people talk about the poor, especially the African American poor.

Michael Lembhard is a perfect example of what I’ve been saying because all we hear about him is that he was using drugs, had several warrants, etc. But no one seems to care why these things were happening in his life. A lot of people are wondering why the Lembhard family is outraged about this tragedy and to that I say “Thank God” that they are. I’m crying loud to hopefully prevent anymore tragedies in the City of Newburgh, where I was born.

This is my point of view!
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