Several black youngsters who dodge drug dealers and crime every day told Congress on Friday that government, self-styled black leaders and inattentive parents are to blame for the violence that envelops their generation.
"I believe that every kid really wants to be somebody. But the opportunities are not there for them," Phillip Davis Jr., 11, told the House Select Committee on Narcotics.Phillip, of Washington, said he is unhappy that many government youth programs don't get more money. What little these programs get is spent on administrative costs, he said.
Not enough money is left for things that are important to children, such as field trips, recreational equipment or even meals, he said. Many children get left out and become frustrated; some never return.
"The children that need help can't get it," Phillip said. "Support the groups that really help kids. Build good recreation centers in the worst neighborhoods, and not just the good ones."
The hearing was one of six forums convened by the Congressional Black Caucus as part of its annual meeting. State officials, members of Congress and community leaders discussed ways to improve life for young blacks, particularly urban youth caught in poverty, illness and crime.
Rep. Mike Espy, D-Miss., co-chairman of the National Consortium for African-American Children, convened a panel discussion on the high rate of infant mortality. Espy linked the death rate to a lack of information and advice from people affected by it.