Mayor Keith Summey: State of the city to reflect serious year

Keith Summey

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey took to the city's Facebook page to fire back at critics who blame the city for not giving youth enough options to stay out of trouble this summer.

"There are people that will say that there is not enough for kids to do today," Summey says in a video. "Well, I can assure you that we have numerous programs if you will check with our rec department. If you’ll check even with our police department with some of the summer programs they operate."

Summey said the problem is people who expect government to do it all.

"The problem is we can’t raise your children. It is your responsibility to raise your children," he said. "And you have got to work with them. The community has got to work with them."

The video apparently was posted in response to criticism from the National Action Network, which held a press event to highlight the city's "serious crisis with gun violence within the black community."

"We have a crisis within the black community, and no one has come forth to acknowledge the problem," NAN President James Johnson said in a recent statement. "The only program that the city has implemented for black males was STAND and it no longer exists." 

The city created the STAND program, which stands for "Step Towards A New Direction," in 2011 in an effort to lower its violent crime rate and illegal drug sales.

Summey said when he was young, his parents made sure he stayed busy during the summer. He said he spent his summer collecting bottles for money, selling produce on the roadside and shining shoes in a barber shop.

"My parents made sure that I stayed active and stayed out of trouble. This is what it's going to take," he said. "We’ve got to come back to the fact that we are a family. We are a community and we are citizens who have to work together."

"But each group has to take that responsibility and not shove it on the back of government," he added. "It has to be an acceptance of responsibility by all people on all sides."

The video has been viewed more than 22,000 times and shared 226 times.

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Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771. Follow him on Twitter @RobertFBehre.

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