Rebuilding Our Community through Unity

The church I grew up in had a motto. It was “where there is unity there is strength.”

One of the definitions of unity is oneness of mind, feelings, concord, harmony or agreement among a number of persons.

Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

Unity, according to this scripture, is a good thing and a pleasant thing especially among brethren.

On the other hand, disunity is bad and hateful and has threatened to destroy and in fact has destroyed the very fabric of our community.

I grew up at a time when we not only knew our own families but the community was your family as well.

It seemed as if especially in Peoria that everybody knew everybody or knew somebody from your family.

When you met someone for the first time, one of the first questions that would be asked of you was, who are you related too?

But the destruction of the family goes back further than what we are experiencing now; it actually goes back to the Garden of Eden.

Satan tricked Adam and Eve into eating from the one tree that God told them not to eat from.

We always want what’s not good for us!

Satan attacked the first institution that God established and has been attacking it ever since and the result was the relationship that God wanted to have with us was severely damaged.

That one act of disobedience changed everything.

One of the reasons we are where we are this day and age is because of the disruption of the pipeline of my generation.

My generation grew up during the ‘70s after the Civil Rights Movement. During that time the church, programs and manufacturing jobs were at an all-time high.

By the time I reached high school in the ‘80s came the entrance of crack cocaine that decimated every facet the community especially the African American community.

Not only were there massive layoffs, but programs disappeared and that had a negative impact on the church.

Crime began to rise and the government set out to deal with the problem without dealing with the issues.

Former President Bill Clinton signed into law a bill that on paper looked and sounded good but in all actuality it destroyed the community with over the top sentences of my generation with many still incarcerated and serving those sentences.

The statistics show that there are more African American men and women incarcerated in America than anywhere in the world.

The family was not created just for our happiness; it was created for the benefit of society.

What’s needed now more than ever is for us to come together in unity, deal with our issues not just problems and view each other as family.

It’s not about them and theirs. It’s about us and ours. It’s about rebuilding our community through unity.

Marvin Hightower



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