Do The Poor Have Any Social Responsibility To Their Communities?

Cooking Crack in a Spoon with Sodium Bicarbonate
Cooking Crack in a Spoon with Sodium Bicarbonate

I had an interesting conversation on Facebook with some powerful men and women of God recently.  People from a range of social backgrounds.  BTW, click their links.  They are dedicated workers in their communities for social uplift.  Deacon Lyles is blessed with the homilist’s gift, and I’m a proud member of his Sunday School Class #9! 

Though we didn’t name it as such, we were actually asking this question: Do the poor have any social responsibility to the communities from which they come?  We all know what the horrors of poverty can do.  Not having the basic necessities of life can be soul destroying.  Poor people have numerous issues and problems related directly to their poverty.  I know from experience.  And poverty tends to beget even more poverty.   Tends.

Reverend Harry Williams, leader of the A.T. Streets Disciples, of which I am a member, recently posted the flyer below on Facebook.  I lifted the conversation as of 8am 4-11-12.   On May 1, 2012, at the San Francisco Public Library, (my old stompin grounds) “The Real Rick Ross” will be a guest speaker.  He will be talking about rebuilding the black community.  Who is this Freeway” Rick Rossyou might ask?  Well, in his past life he was a notorious drug trafficker.   Back in the 1980s, he reportedly earned $600 million from his enterprise of facilitating crack cocaine’s inroads into the black communities of America. 

He has the distinction of being one the founding fathers of black America’s  prostration and decimation at the altar of crack cocaine.  We are STILL to this day, April 11, 2012, suffering the genocidal effects of crack cocaine’s vicious ascendance in our communities.  

Who is Rick Ross?  He quite possibly is the Steve Jobs of crack cocaine marketing.   In OUR black communities. 

But now he has repented, or so he says.  He wants to make amends to the community he helped destroy.  And we should forgive and allow him to do what he feels he can to make restitution.  My issue with Freeway Rick Ross is this: where was your heart of love for your black community back then?  Did you feel you had any responsibility to your community or was poverty your excuse? 

Why did you sell out your community?  Are you truly repented or are you trying to create another dynasty?  Why did you try to sue Rapper Rick Ross for “stealing my name”?  Is such a name worth redeeming?  And about that money.  I imagine that you have none of that $600 million, because you say that you’re “living on $1,500 a month”.  If you DID have some of that money, would you be chilling somewhere in Acapulco right now?  I’m just asking.

Must I listen to you by virtue of your asking me to? 

And that is my question right there.  Should he be allowed to tell us what the answer is?  Right now, young people are enamoured of his legend.  Grown ass men are enamored.  They have stars in their eyes for him.  He’s like a black Scarface or something.   Just how will Rick Ross overcome THAT?   After all,  the rapper Rick Ross took that name for a reason. 

Does a destroyer automatically know how to rebuild?

Rick Ross (the drug dealer not the rapper) will go down in history for finding the path to market crack cocaine to America’s inner cities in the 1980s.  This became known as the “second middle passage.”  Ross is going to be speaking about how we can rebuild the inner cities.  Check out the flier below.
    • Reginald W. LylesWhy should we listen to him?

    • Barbara Jim-GeorgeI’d rather hear 2 million forms of apology for destroying lives and dessimating families and souls. Then, just MAYBE then, I’d sort of kinda consider listening to him.

    • Harry Louis WilliamsWhen I was about 12 years old, I attended a sunday evening testimony service at my home church.  Most of the attendees wore suits and were quite conservative in their posture and outlook on life.  I’ll never forget that particular church service because a young son of the church who had lost his way and become immersed in gang life stood up to testify.  He was like Apostle Paul in a black leather jacket.  I gathered more about redemption from this man of about 22 years old, than I did from a hundred sunday school lessons.  Almost 40 years later, I still remember what he said.  Why would I listen to Freeway Rick Ross?  This man was lost.  However, I believe that he also has something to say about the way back.

    • Mustafa MuhyeeWe should listen to Him because he help messed thing up, and who better knows how to clean things up then the one who messed them up HOW WILL BE IN THE BUILDING

    • Anna Renee I don’t trust him. I don’t understand how he was let out after only 13 years. I don’t understand how a $125 investment in drugs had him being directly connected with Nicaraguan kingpins. I don’t understand why he fought so hard for Rapper Rick Ross to stop using “his name”.  I think he’s a sellout of the black community and he has a sellout mentality. I went to his website, I saw the Huffington Post article,

      Nearly every night that “Freeway” Rick Ross spent in prison, the same nightmare …filled his head: He and his crew are sitting around a table piled high with hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and more money than they could count.See More
    • Anna ReneeI dont believe that just because he went to jail and did his time, that he should be trusted. Especially since kids are starry eyed for him based on his Kingpin legend.  It’s Felix Mitchell all over again.  Just how will he fix the “ruination”?  He’d have to sell all his goods and give to the poor.  I wonder if they let him out to wait for him go back to the thing he knows best, selling drugs in the community?  I forgive him.  But unless and until I see him with a powerful Christian church group, fighting to save lives for Christ, then I wont trust him, and I dont have to.

    • Erin Christianson StarkI’m with you, Harry…if he is truly saved, he really has an interesting story to tell. And I can see how the Christians back in Paul’s day would have felt the same way your other friends are feeling about this man. Really hard to forgive someone who has done so much damage. I pray that he is saved and praise Jesus that He can use someone like this for good in the end. You’ll have to let me know how it goes!

    • Mustafa MuhyeeHe did bad things But he was just a pon on the board. The real drug king Pin was the one giving it to him to destroy the black community THE CIA rick ross did not own a plane nor did he own a poppy field

    • Harry Louis WilliamsPastor Mustafa, you must be referring to the definitive book about “Freeway” Ricky Ross, Dark Alliance by Gary Webb.  On another note, at what point do we forgive and release people from their past?

    • Anna ReneeForgiveness doesn’t mean I must allow you to lead.  You must go to school again.  Even Jesus retested Peter after he denied him.    Just because one knows how to mess up, does not mean he automatically knows how to fix it.  He needs to be reschooled in the right way.  We have to be discerning.  It doesn’t mean we hate the brother.  I forgive you, but I won’t be leaving my impressionable young black manchild in your hands to influence.  Not everybody is an EFFECTIVE leader.  #realtalk

    • Reginald W. LylesRespectfully, this is not about suits verses street wear. Also, I believe or at least I want to believe Rickey Ross recognizes his sins and who has redeemed him. Has he said that? I accept he is was once lost and now found, however, if he is to talk about how to save urban communities, where he sold poison that destroyed countless thousands in those urban communities. All he can say that interests me is I am sorry, and it was Christ’s blood that made me whole. Jesus’ parable about the lost sheep did not state that once the lost sheep was found they placed him in the leadership of the flock. Even Paul had to spend some time with Barnabus, working out is confession, before he could speak with integrity to the nascent Christian community.

      Monday at 10:18pm · UnlikeLike · 2
    • Reginald W. LylesEvery called man or woman of God knows better how to clean up the mess. Again, has Rickey Ross made any confession of his sins? Yes he was a pawn, but he also was a killer, dope dealer, abuser, bully, hustler, pimp, you name it and all for MONEY. Filthy mammon!  If he has made confessions let’s hear them, if he has not made any confessions then it is cheap grace we are extending to him.

      Monday at 10:27pm · LikeUnlike
    • Barbara Jim-GeorgeOne of my past neighbors was getting hassled by the police and screaming about some foreigner bringing in crack into the community. My only thouhgt was, “true, but no one put a gun to your head and made YOU pick up a pipe.” To be a oawn requires making a choice.

      Monday at 11:04pm · UnlikeLike · 1

11 Comments Add yours

  1. blackmystory says:

    Anna it’s wonderful that you practice your Christian values of forgiveness. It’s also good that you are not blind in your practice. But we as a people will never amount to much if we allow devils like Rick Ross, R Kelly and demons like that to come around us begging forgive ness. 600 million and broke. Part fairy tale all CIA. Rick Ross like Frank Lucas was unleashed on us by the oppressor and then was cast aside after the destruction. I can only speak from my perspective, he would be wise to stay far away from my world. Vengance is a plate best served cold. His appologies canno t turn back the on going decimation he contributed to in our community. Further more loving everybodymaybe Jesus’s way but my flesh is weak and I see the resolts everytime I go to work at my homeless shelter, memories have tonques.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      I hear you brother, I hear you! I might forgive, but forgiveness is not a free ticket into my world. Even Jesus said to shake the dust off from under one’s feet as a testimony against them. (sellouts)

      1. Amenta says:

        Anna Renee, I do agree that Ricky Ross was/is a sellout. No doubut. But, do we limit our definition of a sellout to those that impact Black people in the form of rape, murder, drug dealing, mal treatment of women and children? What about the people that make decisions or agree to decisions that erode us in the long term with decisions that don’t immediatley appear before us? Are people Black people that own the major corporate fast feed joints selling to Black people sellouts? Do congressmen women that vote along with those that don’t have Black people’s interest heart qualify as sellouts? How about President Obama signing into law a bill that can cut your right to grow and distribute food from your back yard. Ricky Ross was a pawn much in the line of the characters that KRS One portrays in his song Love’s Gonna Getcha, and became a scourge to the community. We need to begin to forgive and remove these other culprits out of our world as much as we would remove Ricky Ross. IMO that is…LOL

        1. Anna Renee says:

          I think that black folks owning businesses that destroy black health, whether the business is legal or illegal are selling out. I have a major problem with a bill that tells me I cant grow food for myself in my own backyard. I feel that Pres Obama is selling out the community, not just black people but all people if this is what he’s signing.

          Having said all of that, I believe in God’s redemption. A person can decide to repent – to turn away from the wrong to towards the right. My only issue is that they must be re-vetted. You were doing all kinds of wrong. Now you must be retrained in the right way to go. You need to be discipled. You don’t get to be the leader right off the top, just because you say you’re repented.

          You are weakened and need to be strengthened once again. That’s why I dont feel that Freeway Rick Ross can lead me in fighting for the community’s health and rebuild, unless I know that he’s under good leadership and he’s rebuilding HIMSELF.

          My not wanting him to be a leader of my children is not saying that I dont forgive him.

          Peeeeaaace! 🙂

          1. Amenta says:

            I am 100%% with your position on Freeway Ricky Ross.

  2. Lin says:

    Stevie Wonder had/has a message for all sell-outs, no matter their hustle, their grind, their juice, their crimes or their fake-azz evolution: “They Won’t GO Where I Go.”


  3. Amenta says:

    Yes the poor have a responsability to themselves and to their communities. Being poor is s state of mind, and the poor mind, poor way of thinking tends to corrupt activies. We have too many that have come from poor circumstances to rise to be some of the most powerful people in this country, in no more than one generation.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      YES! Too often, so called poor people are just as greedy as the so called rich. They lust after materialistic things and the fleeting fickleness of fame.

      Yes indeed, being poor is a state of mind.

  4. James says:

    There enough pimps already in our communities,Rick needs to quietly go away and do his thing undercover.
    I would always sleep with one eye open around him!

    1. Anna Renee says:

      I’m scared of him doing anything undercover. I guess I’m glad that he is showing himself out in the open at least. Still, he needs to be following good leadership. I pray that he is.

      A young sister on Twitter challenged me that a community leader should go to the meeting he’s holding to hold him accountable and to see that he’s on point with his message. I think I’ll take up her challenge.

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