TRAYVON MARTIN: Is The Black Church Doing Enough?

This article originally published in West Orlando News Online.

When I look around the Black communities some of the things that I see confuse me. I am confused because the mission statement in the Black church includes a charge to help the community. Even though there is tremendous opportunity to help, the community lays and waits.

Yet, I drive around the community and I see church after church that seemingly only helps themselves. There are a few large churches with six hundred members or more and then, there are the smaller ones with fewer than one hundred members. They are in store fronts, converted houses, strip centers, commerce centers almost everywhere. They all have a mission charge to help the community. With all of these churches, you would think that we would have control of our community, but not so.

Along with the churches on nearly every corner, two or three deep, I see a community that needs a lot of help. Our community hosts many small businesses owned by someone other than Blacks. These non-Blacks come into our neighborhoods bringing with them their non-Black employees. They sell their services and products to our neighbors of the community and then take the money back to their own community, leaving us with nothing.

 I see the city council allowing many churches to be built or opened in our community. Since churches are tax exempt, there is less money to maintain public accommodations, such as parks, lighting, sidewalks, etc., so the neighborhood falls to ruin for lack of tax income.

 I see failing schools in our neighborhoods. Schools are normally funded by property taxes that are collected in that neighborhood. Since these business owners don’t live in the community, they take their money back to their own neighborhood. The property taxes are low, so our schools are not properly funded and our children are bused out of the neighborhood which adds to the total neglect. This means that there is a low head count in the school so now the school board will close the school because of under use.

I see single mothers staying home with their children because they can’t generate enough income to pay for rent, food and child care so they are forced to accept government help.

 I see liquor stores, pay day loans and cash for gold and pawn shops popping up in our neighborhoods. These types of businesses usually get the last of our money but that too, is taken away from us to another community.

 The big box stores move into our community promising low cost products and services. What they actually give us is low paying jobs and a guarantee of continued poverty for our residents.

 I see lots of things we need in our community. I don’t see a lot of support coming from the church community. I know that there are a lot of churches doing a tremendous amount of good. Some times we need to let it be known what we are doing. In order to create pride in the neighborhood, a bolder effort of presenting positive images needs to occur.

 Our youths need to see more positive things going on within our community. They need to see us helping us. Along with the glamour shots of pastors and spouses on Face Book, we should also see a glamour shot of a pastor helping a single mother with baby sitting duties while the mother is in a career class. We need to see a glamour shot of the youth minister at a Magic game with a couple of fatherless boys that he is mentoring. We need to see the retired auto mechanic showing a new mechanic how to start his own mobile business. We also need to get the church congregation to buy products from a black neighborhood vendor.

 In order to gain respect for our community, we have to be respectful of our community. When we show this resolve in ourselves, we will be respected for it. Then, watch us grow!

 The Henry McKinnon Fund has put together a plan to make these things happen. The Henry McKinnon Fund supports community youth, churches and businesses. For more information in-box: Or call: (407) 615-6785