Q. What do you see as a solution to some of the social ills facing urban communities today?
A. Education. More than half of young black males do not finish high school. Six out of 10 end up in the corrections system. One of the key areas of attack is getting more black young people to complete their education at least through high school.
That gets us halfway around the usual circle, that education is the answer to social problems, the same social problems which (it is sometimes said) must be solved before schools can educate. Rev. Gardner goes outside that circle.
Churches have a deep stake in this.
Q. In what way?
A. Every church can have an enrichment program for students who are in school to help teach them the basic tools of reading and writing. If a child does not get a hold of those basic tools, they are crippled forever. There are people in all of our churches who can do this and who need only to be enlisted. I think that ought to be next to Sunday worship in importance.