Recently, while visiting family on the mainland, I promised my 16-year-old cousin that I would play him in a game of basketball to solidify my title as the families’ greatest athlete, albeit self-proclaimed. It may have been a foolish feat for me, as my budding teenage relative is 6 feet, 2 inches and growing. Further, he is half my age, and my growth has capped off at an impressive 5 feet, 7 inches in boots.
Nevertheless, even in my audacious pursuit for family bragging rights, I was elated about the rare opportunity for me to spend quality time with my younger kin. However, much to my chagrin, there were no available or affordable places within the community in which to play.
At that moment, I was incensed, not for the lost opportunity of proving my subjective athletic prowess. I thought about the 27 percent of youth living in poverty on the mainland, according to the U.S. Census, 2015. I inquired to my cousin. Why isn’t there a safe place for you kids to go? How do they expect you all to stay out of trouble if you’re idle? Puzzled he responded, “We don’t!” The response made me pensive for him and his peer’s futures.
While it is not lost on me that southern Galveston County produces some of the country’s greatest athletes. This hasn’t resulted in viable economic returns. Moreover, a community and its youth cannot solely depend on turning pro. Data indicates that only 2 percent of collegiate athletes become “professional.” Therefore there is a pertinent need for public and private investments to augment student’s workforce development, which not only includes athletics, but career sustainability. Perhaps the community could produce more physicians, attorneys, and accountants.
Hence the need for social and fiscal capital, as social capital is imperative because it provides a network to economic prosperity. Considering, the perilous distractions inner-city youth face can serve as road blocks to success. Additionally, lack of opportunities of an “identity project” is the nucleus to urban failure.
Yet, indigent youth, when given adequate opportunities, often overachieve. To that end, minority fraternities and sororities have been the impetus of these networks. These social constructs are immensely productive. The idiom iron “sharpens iron” applies here. The paradigm of brother and sisterhood is and continues to be historically vital.
Nonetheless, fraternal brotherhood and maternal sisterhood is not a one size fits all apparatus. Individual community members should take responsibility by becoming active participants in the hegemonic process.
“The paradigm of brother and sisterhood is and continues to be historically vital.”
Furthermore, the public sector needs prudent pecuniary investment. In one of the nation’s most thriving metropolitan economies, it is nonsensical for children to not have a local and free space in which to cultivate both body and mind. Accordingly, until these methods and policies are implemented our youth are at a ubiquitous disadvantage. Therefore, it is incumbent on local officials, community members, and even family members to ensure our children grow to become productive citizens. Give our youth a chance.