Someday soon, a young African American male will be gunned down in Minneapolis by someone who looks much like him.

The following day, Mayor Jacob Frey will hold a press conference to denounce gun violence and unveil another ten-point plan to address the city's number one public safety issue.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo will pledge more law enforcement resources to the cause, amid calls to abolish and defund his very department.

The Minneapolis City Council will continue to be visibly divided over what to say or do next.

As the young shooting victim clings to life, community activists Spike Moss, the Rev. Jerry McAfee and Lisa Clemons will hold around-the-clock prayer vigils for him at HCMC or North Memorial Health Hospital.

A week or a day later, another young Black male will be gunned down under similar circumstances. More press conferences, prayer vigils and community outrage will follow. Yet, we will not hear one word from Black Lives Matter, unless there is a white police officer involved in the shooting.

Sadly, in all this, no one will have the courage or strength of leadership to say what needs to be said to so many African American parents in Minneapolis, out of fear of being labeled a racist or becoming a victim of cancel culture.

The message to African American parents from city leaders, community activists and Black clergy must be resoundingly clear: You are responsible for the actions of your children. Not the mayor, the governor, the police chief, business leaders, school administrators, government agencies or the community at large. You and only you are responsible for your children.

As concerned community members who love the city of Minneapolis, we must not be afraid to ask African American parents questions like these, and hold them accountable for their answers:

It's 10 a.m. on a school day. Why is your son not in class learning the three R's, which is his only way out of crippling poverty?

Why is your son walking or driving around our city unsupervised carrying a firearm or other deadly weapon?

Why is your son a member of a violent street gang and still allowed to live in your home, where he serves as a role model to your younger children?

It's overnight on a weekend. Why is your son in downtown Minneapolis carjacking law abiding residents on their way home from a night out, instead of being fast asleep under your watchful eye?

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child. But parents are ultimately responsible for raising respectful, well-adjusted, law abiding and productive children who are not a burden or menace to society. Poverty and racism cannot be an excuse for not doing so.

Building more recreation centers and funding more violence prevention programs will not solve the Black-on-Black violence epidemic that has gripped our city. Only Black parents can stop it.

If African American parents are unwilling to do the most important job they will ever be called upon to do, they must be charged, fined and punished to the fullest extent of the law alongside their criminally delinquent children. After all, such reprehensible behavior was learned and sanctioned at home.

As a 50-year-old African American man whose father grew up in the segregated South, I have witnessed firsthand the long-lasting effects of racism on my own family. So there is no need for my critics to call me "out of touch" or label me an Uncle Tom.

Let me be clear: America specializes in systemic racism, including writing Black folks a bad check with insufficient funds that they will never be able to cash.

However, this never stopped our ancestors, who grew up in abject poverty under slavery and later Jim Crow, from wanting more for their children.

Our ancestors did not sit idly by waiting for white folks or the U.S. government to create after school programs to keep their children off the streets and out of harm's way. They didn't wait for segregation to end to send their children to college.

Our ancestors acted as if everything depended on them as their children's first teachers. Hence, the creation of Black fraternal/mutual aid societies and historically Black colleges and universities, which are still thriving today throughout much of the South.

If African American parents in Minneapolis do not immediately return to this mindset, we will unnecessarily lose another generation of young Black men to gun violence.

Meanwhile, the tragic murder of Charlie Johnson, a white University of St. Thomas student caught in the crossfire this past weekend in downtown Minneapolis, is just the latest reminder of how much this issue impacts the entire community.

If Black lives truly matter, African American parents must teach their sons that they are more than a bunch of thugs without impulse control. They are kings, holding the key to the Black community's survival and future success.

African American parents, train up your sons in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it. It all starts in their formative years at home.

Lee Hayes, of St. Paul, is a public relations and public affairs consultant. He can be reached at