An Open Letter to Black Leaders

I'm from East Lake Courts, and my organization has taken a stand against violence.

I don't care what kind of violence it is. Sexual violence, gun violence, domestic violence. We should not be losing our young kids because of stupidity.

We've got to get to the root of the problem. We can't just keep marching and rallying. What we need to not do is plant seeds and not come back and water them.

If we're going to stand up and make a commitment, we have to be there in the community.

Otherwise, these communities are going to take us for a joke.

It saddens my heart.

You can't be behind four walls, saying 'make a change' when nobody sees you in the community.

People will react to you and respond to you if they see you. You can't come to the community once a year and expect to make a difference.

Less talk, more action.

They call East Lake Courts the 'devil's playground.' I had one girl tell a friend of mine: “This is East Lake. Only the strong survive.”

We are so lost. We're doing everything in our power not to take this head-on. Everybody's stepping around this because they're scared of the explosion.

But you can't fix the problem by going around the problem.






A community activist, Latoya Holloman is the founder of Loving My Community, a grassroots-community program based out of East Lake, Chattanooga. She's actively involved in her church – Orchard Park Seventh Day Adventist – and is from Baltimore, Maryland.

“We can't just keep marching and rallying. What we need to not do is plant seeds and not come back and water them.”