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Lakeview residents fill the Edward Hynes Charter School gym on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 as they listen to police and court representatives talk about the recent uptick in car burglaries.

As Lakeview residents, we have been stirred by the escalation of the crime of breaking into automobiles. Increase in anger and fear has gripped many and covert and overt expressions of resentment have filled the atmosphere.

What can be done? Stiffer penalties, bigger fences, better alarm systems, more police are all worthy suggestions, yet I propose another perspective.

The beginning of a solution begins in our own minds.

We must renew the way we think so that we can together come up with solutions that can solve the problem. First, it is not us and them. It is us. It is not black and white, it is New Orleanians. It is not the private school system and the public school system, it is our school system. It is not my neighborhood and their neighborhood, it is our city. It is not my children and their children, it is our children.

Those of us with greater resources, greater opportunity and greater worldly success need to take full responsibility of our entire city and not just my exclusive section. When we do make this shift, then we will have the collective wisdom to find lasting solutions.

As a pastor and counselor, I seek to help a tormented or hurting individual who is acting out in an unhealthy manner, to find and heal the wounds that are the root of the torment. A city is like a person. What are the wounds of our city? How can we truly understand the wounds of our city, and how can we begin the healing of those wounds? I have witnessed in hundreds of cases that when the wounds of an individual are healed, they stop acting out. Perhaps that applies to our city. What are the wounds of our city that need to be healed so our people will stop acting it out?

Each one of us is called to be part of the solution. Are you willing to shift your thinking from us and them to "us"? Are you willing to take ownership as family every individual that calls themselves a New Orleanian?

If you answer no, I propose to you that you remain as part of the problem and not part of the solution. As a pastor, I encourage you to become part of the solution. I bless this city with peace and bless you and every individual in this city with the grace of His Presence.

DEAN SUNSERI

pastor, counselor

New Orleans