Please visit this 2025 Local Impact Site
An African proverb states, "Until the lion has his own historian, the hunt will always glorify the hunter." I once read a blog about the Oscar Grant case and the insensitivity that exists toward black men and our plight is sickening. Many say that we are whiners and troublemakers and that we should stop complaining and living in the past. This view is a classic blame the victim mentality because our stories are not told enough and from the correct perspective. Stories that show black men and boys succeeding on a daily basis, being fathers, creating and pursuing ideas that improve humanity, who work to create positive images of us and who sacrifice daily for others outside of their family networks. When images are not the image that we do not want portrayed, we must pressure the large media conglomerates that have shown us in an unfavorable light.
Second, we need to improve the education system and make sure that our young people are being educated, prepared to be at the forefront of industry advances and not excessively expelled or suspended. We need to move our young people from education that keeps them in the bounds of the lower levels of society. Today one of my bright lights that graduated at the top of his high school class is struggling with his calculus and computer science. He is questioning himself about truly belonging in a prestigious east coast university. I have to make sure that his confidence is not shattered. He was not prepared to deal with the pace. We must prepare our boys to compete.
Third, we need Black men to be able to provide for themselves and there families. One of the many reasons why Black fathers are not present is because they feel inadequate with what they can and cannot provide for their women and children. Vance Jones stated that wind power in the plain states of America could have the potential to be as prosperous as a Saudi oil field. He said that the steel that would be needed for the wind turbines could bring back every steel town in America. We must prepare our men for a green economy, by not only being workers, but also by putting them in the place to employ others.
Finally, we need to implement a unified rite of passage/3 tier male mentoring initiative where each participant will be mentored by an elder, a peer and young person. In this structure each man in the community has value because he is fellowshipping with individuals who view him as an asset and friend and not an enemy and a stranger. In these structures men and boys could share information, talk about the many problems that we face as Black men in America, but also heal, learn how to be better fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, mates and friends. We also could learn best practices and duplicate those structures for the advancement of our people. Improving the quality of life for Black men and boys is improving the quality of our communities and this country.
I am the Executive Director of a Chicago based not for profit that focuses on youth leadership development and improving the lives of all residents who reside on the south side of Chicago. One of the many things that we do at MAGIC (Metropolitan Area Group for Igniting Civilization) is working with other communities and its various components to improve the quality of life for Black men and boys in America. MAGIC is part of both OSI's Campaign for Black Male Achievement and 21st Century Foundation’s BMB 2025 Campaign. Both campaigns are working hard on changing the current plight of black men and boys all over this country.