Today was both an emotional & inspirational day for me. Today I saw what is rarely seen in today’s America. Today I both witnessed and was a part of, brotherhood. I’m in a mentoring group called the R.I.T.E program at my school and what we do is, we reach out to young black males who we see have a potential that they don’t know yet to exist. I personally reach out to the young black men of my generation who I see are living to the expectation that was put on them, that is dysfunctional, ignorant, & wild.
I was asked a question today that I too at one point in time, had asked of myself. It was, why do I care so much about the black race, and why do I have so much focus and desire to show my fellow black men love, support and help raise them up. Well it’s quite simple for me. I’ve lived among the poverty, I was it, halfway through my life I was raised in the ghetto, I was a part of it, I was on the corners with the hustlers, pimps, & old heads that played pastor, and I was a part of them. I witnessed my own people treat each other worst than they say white people treat us, literally like humans who have no point in existence… I’ve seen brothers die in the hands of another brother, a man begging another man for a drug and women offering their own body up for a hit of something that would make their body numb. Everybody wanted to be numb. Numb to the pain they felt everyday just by waking up and looking into the mirror, the pain they felt by looking at themselves. They wanted to be numb to their own existence. I’ve witnessed a mother tell her own children to go into the other room while she took some pills which she hoped would take her life, she was so tired. I have seen my own people give up on themselves because they believed that there was a limit to how far they could reach in life.
I never finished high school. I’m able to continue my education with the aid of a GED. This is very important for why I care so much about my people because, I know people who have received their high school diploma, yet have stood still in the same place. They were the ones who had inspired me to go back for my education. I was witnessing the class I would have graduated with get ready for graduation, taking pics of their caps and gowns and at that time, I envied them while feeling disappointed in myself. I just knew that everybody was getting ready to leave and go off to college and I was sick with the thought of not being able to move onto that next level with that. I wanted to be able to catch up and enjoy the college life with my graduating class. So I did it, I went to a community college and received my GED within 3 months and moved off to the next level by leaving town, and moving into student housing. I moved so fast that when I looked behind me, I noticed how empty the room was. I realized that when I spoke I heard echoes, and it was only my voice that spoke back to me. I realized that I was the only one who had moved on, the boy with the GED, while all of my friends stayed behind with their high school diplomas, I was lost with questions. It took some time but I was finally able to understand why. The people who had stayed, all of my friends and those who I was not so close to but were my associates on Facebook, stayed because they never had nor have they ever seen any inspiration to move on to the next level. I began to think back and memories became clear. I remember seeing men & women who I remember being in their teens & early 20’s when I was younger, at the time when I was getting ready to leave, still living in the same ghetto, and now as the wannabe pastors who they once joked about and told us youngsters to never be, and some became the mothers who just wanted to numb the pain of living.
I realized that there was a trend, a trend of hopelessness, a trend of just dreaming and not living, and a trend of failure. I know that the young generation does not necessarily listen to the older generation for various reasons, so I knew that although not given to me, I had a responsibility. That responsibility was to continue my education, follow every single one of my dreams like they are the reason why I breathe and if for some reason I couldn’t achieve them, my life would stop. I had to adopt this way of thinking, I had to become serious, and I had to become somebody who would inspire the reason for those who stayed to say, “Wow, he did it? Well I can do it to. I’m going to be somebody because he just showed that it was possible, and this is the same guy that was smoking weed & laughing on the corner with me. Wow, and with a GED. Imagine what I could achieve.” There are so many young black males, plenty that I know personally, who have nobody to look up to besides the people who teach them to look down, and when they look to their fellow brothers of their same generation, they’re looking down right along with them. These brothers are also used to seeing one of their own looking down on them because that person may have made it to college or simply just stepped up in life, but at the same time forgot about their people. I can’t forget about my people. I believe that God wouldn’t even let me try.
So why do I care so much about the black race? Why am I so passionate about brotherhood and reaching out to black males who are either the same age as me or younger? It’s because they need to see at least one of their own giving a rightful damn about them. They need to see one of their own make it. They need to see a reason to believe, and they need to see that success is possible.
Today consisted of another step in helping me show the existence of brotherhood. Today, me and my group went out to get fitted for suits. We decided that we’re going to promote professionalism attire, and this group consists of men all from different places, all with a different story. There was so many shocked looks on people’s faces when they seen us all together, getting fitted for our suits and showing how much love we had for each other. Those looks gave me life, and those looks will grow even further once we start walking around in those suits, showing & proving to be proud black men, united. I am the youngest out of this group, and my goal is for young brothers to see us all in this attire and immediately feel a spark of determination, and want to be a part of something that is already theirs.
We have been our own worst enemy for so long and not only do I feel, but I know that once we as a people learn how much we need to love & respect each other in order for us to get anywhere, we as the current future can set the stage for our future, to be able to have a future, so that they can look forward to a future.
The women look up to us men. They watch and listen to everything we do, and they take it in. Believe it or not, but we inspire their character, we inspire how they think, especially about men in general. They need us men to be men, not only to be good husbands, but great fathers. And that’s why it starts with us, the brotherhood…