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Healthy self esteem is a quality children learn in an environment where they are valued and encouraged. Unless such encouragement is strongly present in the home, a child living in a racially hostile environment may internalize feelings of inferiority which become a permanent part of the personality. Some areas of the USA, the deep south and even many northern urban areas, have become dangerous places for black males to live because of a pervasive climate of racial hostility. How is this affecting the self esteem, expectation of achievement, motivation, and sense of self worth of young men who are seeing themselves shot down daily by either supposed "gang" members or police who use the excuse that they are shooting a "gang" member? Parents who have been conditioned to accept being ignored and underserved by the elected officials whose salaries they pay through their tax dollars may not know how to instill in their children the instinct to fight back. How do we teach our children that they not only have a right to justice, but that they have the power to obtain it? How do we make voter education and voter registration part of the household culture? Tanjila Lippett of Orlando Florida shares her horrific story as a parent who did all the right things, yet saw her son shot down by police through the window of a church last January while he attended Bible study. A year later, this southern community remains too paralyzed in fear to mobilize against the offending officer, and Tanjila finds herself courageously standing alone in a quest for justice. How do families band together to provide a sense of safety for their children and how does a community fight back against centuries old traditions of racial oppression? Is it time to reach out to our greater extended human family across the country and across the world?
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