By now, if you've ever read anything from me then you know that my mission in life is to improve my environment by focusing on young men of color. At this point, we all know the issues that are plaguing black folks. We know the drop out rates. We know that we pack out jails. We know that we die earlier than most other races by nearly everything. We know, yet we still talk ad nauseam about it.
Wait, don't get me wrong, I'm glad that we are talking about it but...
That's. All. We. Ever. Do.
Seriously, I get invited out to a ton of events held by very smart individuals. We have a great discussion, exchange emails, go home and black boys in inner cities across the country continue to kill each other like it's for sport. In my article, "My Take on Black Rage," I ended it by saying we should all be energy convertors. There were questions from readers asking how do they become energy convertors, well, here's how.
There are a variety of things that one can do. It doesn't matter how much money you have. You can become a mentor, a tutor, a coach or any other consistent figure in the life of young people that need it. The secret is the consistency. You have to show up and be seen to be effective. On the simplest level, you can make an impact by making a commitment and just keeping your word. Start there. Start by allowing these young men to see you being active in their neighborhoods. When I was a kid, the drug dealers and addicts outnumbered the positive men, easily!
My business partner, Milan Drake, and I got tired of the talking. In Oakland, the murder rate is high and it's not dropping at an acceptable rate. Our young black men aren't being supported the way they should be. We decided that in order to really make a difference we needed to reach these young men and their parents. With that, the Black Males Achieve Conference was born.
The conference aims to equip black males and their parents with the needed tools to not only get them into college but also to get them through. We are showing these young men just how important they are to Oakland and to this world. We are equipping parents, most of whom have never gone to college, with not just the tools but the confidence to advocate for their child's education. I'm not sure if you know this or not, but schools in the hood do not tend to be the most welcoming for students let alone their parents. Our parents need this type of support.
Milan and I felt we could do better and so can you. Wherever you live, whatever you do for a living, you can become an energy convertor. Actually, you have to become an energy convertor. If you are reading this, you have achieved some level of privilege that mandates you to get involved and do something. I travel the country discussing different ways to become energy convertors and I'm willing to go anywhere if we have a chance to do something for these young people.
My duty, is to put more into this world than I have taken from it and trust me when I say I have taken a bunch from it. From watching my parents smoke crack to being homeless to going to college to making my own idiotic mistakes, I've taken a lot out of this world. Stop using the excuse that you aren't anyone to look up to. Read this part slowly, I do something incredibly idiotic almost daily. However, you suck it up and try to do better. That doesn't absolve me from this duty. Let's stop waiting for other folks to do what we can do ourselves. Everyone can help and contribute but men, I'm turning my chair and looking directly at you now. Our young men must see positive black men. Black men, let's be visibly active. Lives are depending on it and for the record, Black Males Achieve can be set up in any city by nearly anyone. I am willing help anyone that wants to pour into their community.
This is a war that we're currently losing but we have not lost. Together, we can make all the difference.
Follow Charles Cole III on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ccoleiii