By: Kofi Taharka
National Chairman- National Black United Front
HOUSTON—Reginald Gordon and Sammy Rodriguez founders of Operation Outreach OG1 have been working for three decades to steer Houston area youth away from a life of crime and violence. On Saturday morning the Robert F. Byrd Funeral Directors in Third Ward was standing room only with youth, parents and concerned community servants for a workshop entitled “Snuffing Out The Smell Of Death In Black and Brown Communities”. Both founders graphic multimedia presentations are combined with “keeping it real talk” about the consequences of bad decisions of crime and violence. Gordon and Rodriguez offered hard hitting life experiences to the attentive audience based on their combined 40 plus years of incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Silence hovered over the room as pictures of mutilated corpses of youth living the street life where projected on a large screen. The presenters didn’t parse words when explaining the realities of rape and abuse that exist within the prison system.
A casket set the back drop for Robert F. Byrd owner of the funeral home as he explained the tremendous hardship placed on families when youth are killed in street violence. He led the young probationers on a tour of the embalming facilities to underscore the points made throughout the morning. One teenager said afterwards “I got to change, start respecting my mother and pay attention in school”. “The situation with our young people is a crisis in the Black community, we want to do these workshops in funeral homes in all parts of the city”. Representative’s from various community organizations encouraged those in attendance to financially support the work of Operation Outreach OG1 which is a 501 (C) 3 non profit organization.