Hoodies Won’t Save Our Black Boys

I feel like we’re in the times where Pharaoh has put out the decree to kill all the male babies. (Exodus 1:8-21)

Every year there is a headline news story about the senseless murder of a black boy or man at the hands of some trigger happy buffoon. Each story reminds us of the little value black men have in American society. We get mad. We raise a little cain. But then we return to our every day lives. However, this year the death of Trayvon Martin has moved the black community in a different way.

Our voices of outrage, sadness and frustration over Trayvon’s murder have been heard all over social media. We’ve taken to signing petitions. We’ve taken to marching at the One Million Hoodie Rallies. We’ve even used our positions in black Hollywood and sports to take a stand. But what happens next? Once justice is served for Trayvon, which it will be done- we still have a community of black boys just like Trayvon who need us. There’s still a huge void in the black community that only black people can fill- and marching in hoodies isn’t going to solve this problem.

According to the Man Up: Recruiting and Retaining African-American Male Mentors report published by the Urban Leadership InstituteBig Brothers and Big Sisters, one of the leading organizations advocating mentoring, has a waiting list of more than 12,000 African American boys waiting to be matched with mentors. That is a fact people. If we could get half as many black people who rallied in hoodies to volunteer an hour a week or a Saturday a month to mentor a young black boy, do you know the difference it would make for our community?!

It really should not matter what color the person is helping in our community, but for our black boys it does. It matters because many our boys don’t have the positive black male role models in their lives. It matters because we, black people, are accountable for one another. It matters that we don’t have enough of us telling our black boys they can and they will. It matters because in this moment for justice for Trayvon, our boys are watching us. And I believe in many ways they are also hoping we stand up for them too- before it’s too late.

Trayvon was the antithesis of the troubled black boy we often see plastered in the media. He was a kid that most of us know more often than not. He was our little brother, our nephew, our god-son, our cousin, and our son. Even President Obama had to remind America if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon. What the President could not say was not only would his son have looked like Trayvon, his son would have also lived a similar upper-middle class life that would have made no difference to the idiot behind the trigger who thought to take his life mercilessly.

I know none of this will bring Trayvon back nor will it stop some idiot from pulling a trigger at will. However, what serving our community will do is give hope to a hopeless generation looking for guidance in all the wrong places. Here are a few places you, yes you, can give back to a black boy in your community:

If there ever were a time to use our power for good, it is now.

Don’t forget tomorrow is the big day!!! We’re hosting our first webinar that will kick off our For Goodness Sake! educational resource portal! Our guest will be Black Benefactors’ founder, Tracey Webb. Learn why giving circles are important for you no matter if you are involved in philanthropy, civic leadership or non-profit management.

11 thoughts on “Hoodies Won’t Save Our Black Boys

  1. This action of mentoring will begin the process of saving lives. Please speak to your male friends and family members and give them names of these organizations if they don’t know of any and beg if necessary, for them to become a mentor. Black woman we have the power to get our men to do whatever we want them to!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this information… For the last week I’ve been wrestling with the thoughts of “What next?” Now that Trayvon Martin’s murder is getting national recognition and, In Jesus’ name, Justice will be served… Now what do we do as a people? Although I fully support the movement and stand by Trayvon’s family I just didn’t see how taking a picture of myself wearing the same hoodie that I wear every other day and well before this tragedy happened was going to change the fact that Tayvon wasn’t the first and he wont be the last if we as people don’t change the world we live in. We need our Good Black Men to step up and like Tonya said, we as women need to encourage them!

    1. That’s all I keep saying, what will we do when the smoke clears. It’s something we really need to investigate because we KNOW how we are. Let’s keep our prayers up and our encouragement to black men high.

  3. Preach Preacher! I agree wholeheartedly with this post. I was speaking to my lil’ brother yesterday and asked him his opinions about the Trayvon Martin situation. He said it’s sad, but things like this happen every day. But what he said next is what got me to thinking. He said “The week before it was KONY, this week it was Trayvon, it will be something different next week”. This hit me. Not because I couldn’t believe he said it, but because I knew it was the truth. We can’t continue to jump on the hottest cause bandwagon because Twitter or Facebook told us to. We all need to step up and do something. I’m trying to use my time here in Nigeria to do something. I pray that people, especially men, will read your post and be inspired to take action and help put an end to this vicious cycle.

    1. Who are you telling! It’s crazy! I’m happy to see us active but it can’t just be a publicity stunt. What is Diddy going to do next? In fact, I’m about to tweet him and ask….

  4. My friend and I were just discussing this exact topic just the other day. Though i’m sure everyone’s hearts are in the right place with the hoodies and such, we need to “do better”. Take note as to how protests were handled in the times of MLK. There was no mailing of photos or candy bags… we spoke with our pockets and our votes!

    On the other hand, I think one of our biggest problems is that we have no real leadership for our generation. Rev. Al Sharpton isn’t cutting the mustard for me and I would follow him NOWHERE!

    1. You know…I partly think we don’t KNOW what to do next. It’s like we have an outward statement of our position- the hoodie, but then what’s next? We can’t be the Martin’s family lawyer or judge in the case but we want to show support. Cool. But our biggest issue is STILL out there. I agree we need to do better but I worry we don’t know what that means

      And I don’t think Rev. Al is all that bad in his older days. He actually says things of substance unlike ol’ Jessie. I mean, until someone else flocks to the side of our people when things go awry, I’ll stick to Rev. Al- just to be safe.

  5. I can agree with your points… it’s just sad that our society has no idea of the power that we have if we could just work together. Like I said before, I get the hoodies and such, however, we’re spending thousands of dollars buying skittles as a part of a protest?! To date, has @skittles mentioned anything about this child? We’re using our power, financial, in the wrong ways.

    I can agree that Al Sharpton is all we have right now…but I fear as older generations leave us, we won’t be left with any “leadership”. Who in our society prompts calls to action? Makes people move, speak, give, march, etc? There is no one and I, personally, will not follow Al Sharpton to the corner store. He has definitely served a purpose but this is a new generation and I feel that more often than not…he embarrasses me. Using the poorly planned rally in Sanford, FL as an example, it was the most embarrassing thing i’ve seen since the Jena 6 students posted images of them literally rolling in money. We, as a culture, must do better [i really hate that I say that]!

    It would be amazing if John Legend, Don Chedle, Alicia Keys or other philanthropist celebrities used their power to bring attention to this travesty and to activate our generation.

    1. I didn’t realize skittles are suck a big part of the protests. I mean, yes for show but we have no reason being mad at skittles. o_O

      I had a part of this post that I took out but basically I said for once we are on one page. There’s nothing to divide us. No two sides. We are one….and my point was as a collective unit we can do so much. So I agree with you there.

      Oh just go giv Rev. Al a big ol hug. You know you want to!

  6. How about this:

    1. Each one teach one
    2. Reach out and help others
    3. Pass on all the good that you can
    4. Take responsibility for your actions
    5. Learn to make good decisions and better choices
    6. Work hard
    7. Guard your life…it is precious
    8. Share with others
    9. Committ yourself to making the space you currently share better than when you
    first entered it.

    Seems as if we do more of these things individually and collectively, we would not have to spend so much time looking for leaders. Yes, Al Sharpton has matured. He is not perfect, but he has some very valuable insights. Take the best that he has to offer and keep it moving. Add your best to that and perhaps you can begin your own progressive movement within and all around you.

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