The youth that are residing in lower income areas face many difficulties in their everyday life and it all stems from having little to no outlets in which they can express themselves in creative, fun, and wholesome ways. In Tupac Shakur’s poem A Rose that Grew from Concrete, tupac creates a metaphor for growing up in a rough neighborhood. The rose symbolizes tupac himself, and the concrete that he grew from is the city he grew up in. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics ‘The 16-24 age demographic has experienced the highest unemployment rates and the highest increases in unemployment since 2008.
In some areas, unemployment in this age demographic exceeded 20%. Nearly one-third of this demographic lives in poverty and are the most likely to commit crime and become a victim of crime.’ Similar to how tupac grew up, the young kids in these neighborhoods see the standard of living to be below average and when their standard of living is dissatisfactory, the individuals residing in poverty see the benefits of committing a crime just to meet their basic needs and they believe that it is worth the risk of getting caught.
The kids in this society shouldn’t have to resort to committing crimes in order to get what they need, but providing the kids with something productive to do can keep them out of harm’s way.
In Tupac Shakur’s biography published by ‘biography.com’ the site provides background information about the author of the poem, A Rose that Grew from Concrete, Tupac amaru Shakur.
Some notable information, is that Tupac Shakur was one of the best-selling rap music artists ever, selling over 75 million records worldwide. Tupac knowingly had a large following so he liked to use his platform as a way to express his concern for anti police brutality and equal rights. He was born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem New York City, and he was the son of two parents that were members of the Black Panther Movement. Tupac’s parents heavily influenced his advocacy for his views on police brutality. Growing Up Tupac was surrounded by friends and family who are constantly getting into trouble and serious criminal offenses. this formed much about Tupac’s music subject matter is mostly about. The reason tupac’s friends and family got into trouble so often was because the low income community he grew up in lacked outlets for their residents to keep them out of trouble. Because the income in the area is low, crimes tend to be more frequent, specifically stealing, and gang related activities, but this is typically done out of having a small income and no outlets to keep people busy. Much like his parents Tupac was an advocate for anti-police brutality and he got his message out by writing his rap songs that were centered around police brutality and discrimination. Not only did he express his concerns through his music, but Tupac was also a published Poet, an artist, an actor, and a screenwriter which he used those outlets to spread his message as well. Tupac was unfortunately later killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas Nevada September 13th 1996 where he passed away at the young age of 25. Although he is gone, his legacy and his advocacy for what he believed in will live on forever.
For as long as there have been kids and teenagers, there has been an abundance of valueless opportunities that they can get into and may steer them down a bad path. These types of actions are typically more recurring in lower income areas, there are people looking to take advantage of the impressionable youth that can’t quite afford what they want, and attempt to turn them in to drug dealers robbers or being gang affiliated by promising them a high reward. This has the potential to completely ruin the kids future along with their quality of living which could potentially lead them to take part in more crimes. A large focus must be placed on our youth because they are the future of the communities that make up our nations around the world. By creating opportunities for the communities youth to gather, create, socialize, and go skateboarding, it is a great way to deter the youth from getting into bad situations. This in turn, creates a local community, a great place for kids, teenagers, and young adults to come and hang out, and a space to create and learn new tricks along with the added benefit of keeping them out of trouble.
A few solutions for creating a better environment for the Youth to grow up in that allows for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep them out of getting into illegal acts, would be the addition of a skateboard shop or a skateboard park so that the youth have a wholehearted, creative activity to pursue instead of the easily accessible acts of committing crimes, getting involved with local gangs, along with selling and or doing drugs. Opening up a skate park will allow for these kids to have a place to hang out with others that are like minded and allow for them to be themselves. A skateboard shop provides another meeting place and a safe environment for the youth to hang out.
Another benefit of creating a skate shop is that it will create more jobs in their community and help employ young adults and teens. Tony Croghan, owner of skateboard shop ‘35 North’ located in Seattle, Washington had this to say in an interview by skateboard magazine ‘Jenkem’ jenkemmag.com when asked about what benefits skate shops bring and how they stay in business, “We stay busy with events. The Seattle skate scene is rad and everyone supports one another so we love to get involved however we can. Skate shops have to make it a priority to promote and grow their scene, plus keeping your local scene healthy is always a good long-term strategy.” Having a community in and around a local skate shop creates for a type of symbiotic relationship between the skaters and shop owners where everyone benefits and is happy.
Some may argue that the integration of skateboard shops and skateboard parks will do very little to alter how the members of the youth community in low income areas will act, it will not change their habits, and that we should invest our money into something else like more schools or building a Recreation center. While these ideas to integrate more scholarly outlets into the low income areas are mostly serviceable, they lack the opportunity to give these kids, teenagers and young adults an outlet and a platform in which they can freely express their creativity, perform a fun physical activity, grow a community with no guidelines, no restrictions and no negative outcome besides maybe a few scratches and bruises. Not everyone is an academically talented individual, and no one should be forced to just because they believe it will allow for more job opportunities.
The integration of Skateboard parks and Skateboard shops into these lower income areas will provide the youth with something that is engaging, beneficial for their development in character, a great outlet for physical activity and an opportunity to create and meet new friends. There are already many skateparks in low income areas around the Los Angeles county, and these parks attract skateboarders from all over the world and are being used as recreational areas in which local skateboard shops and companies can host events such as fundraisers, contests, and can be used to scout local up-and-coming skateboarders for a potential sponsorship which could eventually lead to a career in the skateboarding industry. Giving these kids an outlet as limitless as this is very worthwhile because it will deter them from getting into bad habits and situations.
Giving the community an activity that is wholesome, fun, limitless, and allows them to connect with other kids while distracting and straying them away from problems in their neighborhood is one of the best ways to try and decrease the crime rate and help kids stay on the right path so that they can have a bright future. The integration of skate shops and skateparks will be easy, fun, and beneficial for all parties involved. Despite increases in poverty, data released by the National Juvenile Justice Network that shows youth arrests for violent crime are falling, following a 20-year pattern of reduction for robbery, aggravated assault, and similar crimes,
The more opportunities we create for kids to get involved the less likely they are to fall into the wrong path and way of living, and the more likely they are to have an enjoyable and gratifying life that lies ahead.