Every 5 seconds during the school day a Black public school student is suspended. Every 46 seconds a Black student drops out. Every minute a Black child is arrested and a Black baby is born to an unmarried mother. Every 3 minutes a Black child is born into poverty. Every hour a Black baby dies. Every 4 hours a Black child under 20 years of age dies from an accident. Every 5 hours, a Black youth is a homicide victim. Everyday a Black youth under the age of 25 dies from HIV infection and a Black child or youth under 20 years of age commits suicide.
-Empowering African-American Males
The other day my daughter and I were riding in the car and we were talking about this contract I have. I am working with young black men mostly in the 9th grade…and they are what the schools would call “troubled”. Now if you have read any of my previous blog posts, you may have stumbled on a few that mentioned the foundation my wife and I have that deal with youths. The males I deal with fall under the “troubled” label. So my daughter says to me “oohh okkay, dad is that your calling?” My response was “No, I just deal with a lot of knuckleheads! :o)”
But the more I thought about that question I had to think about what my passions are in life. Dealing with black males is on the top of that list. Whether people think that issues exist or not, the fact remains as a whole that black males are hurting and mostly in their youths. The stereotypes put strikes against them that even when doing the right things, they have to make extra efforts to succeed. So what about the males that have no father figures, or the ones where the family structure is nowhere to be found? I’m blessed to have my dad involved in my life and other black men who are/were positive role models. They worked, had families, and were educated beyond high school. I saw another way. I had the option to choose right from wrong…it was real to me. A lot of the young males today don’t have that and the average is growing. In 2007 I believe a statistic came out that 1 in 21 black males are homicide victims while 1 in 331 white males have the same fate. More black men, even though they are less of the population, make correctional institutions their dwelling place more than any other race. Those are just a few of many issues that needs addressing. I know I can’t be a wonder worker and change the world, but I like doing my part.
So is this my calling? No.
It’s my duty.