During last week's presidential debate Mitt Romney took a question about after-college job placement and spun the answer into a declaration that single-parent families create gun violence. And while many viewers shook their heads, Huffington Post contributor Monique Ruffin says that as a mom raising her child in the inner city by herself, she felt unfairly targeted.
I was raised by a single parent. When Mitt Romney speaks of single parents contributing to gun violence, I believe he is speaking to me, not to white, single parents whose suburb-dwelling kids have good schools and enthusiastic teachers. I am very aware that the highest percentage of gun violence in America occurs in communities like the one in which I was raised, minority neighborhoods where there are high educational dropout rates and few employment opportunities.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that it truly does take a village to raise a child. I will never forget the day my second grade teacher came to my home to speak with my grandmother about the opportunity for me to be bussed to a school in a middle class, white community where the educational resources would better match my potential. At the time, the schools in Watts were not fully sourced with music, academics and sports programs. Over the years, this teacher had watched my progress and offered whatever she could to enhance my educational experience. Often, she took me to her home on weekends and to plays at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I look back today and see our time together as enchanting and inspirational. She was a part of the village that nurtured me into who I am today.
Read Monique Ruffin's entire piece at the Huffington Post
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