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 Institute, Big 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:
- Volunteers are needed at EVERY Boys & Girls Club in America. Find your local club
- Organizations that focus on black males: 101 Men of Hope | 100 Black Men of America | MentoringBrothers | National O.K. Program
- Young Men’s Ministries of your local black churches
- National Volunteer Week: April 15-21, 2012. Find a local project in your area: New York Cares | Greater DC Cares | VolunteerMatch
- If you are a non-profit seeking black male mentors or just an inquisitive mind wanting to know more about black male mentors I highly recommend reading this short 15-page report: Man Up: Recruiting and Retaining African-American Male Mentors
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.