1) See the Possibility and Not Just the Pain: Could this be the birth of a movement? There is an absolute urgency of issues facing our young people and our nation. How can the life of Trayvon and all the young people we have lost from Harlem to Newtown to Chicago to Aurora truly matter? How can we mobilize around issues of gun control, violence in our urban centers, America's need for healing around race past and present, the prison industrial complex, stop and frisk, poverty, homeless, and so on and so on? The movement we are embarking on is a Humans Rights Movement -- all people regardless of race, sex, class, or sexuality must have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
2) March and Take A Young Person with You: around the country peaceful protests are emerging. Help our young people to understand the connection between our past and our present. We march to make our presence known and our voices heard.
3) Volunteer for a Youth Empowering Organization in Your Community: the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Right in your neighborhood there are organizations working to serve youth who can benefit from your time and talent.
4) Text JUSTICE to 62227 to demand the Department of Justice addresses this tragedy by filing a civil rights violation against Zimmerman or sign the petition at moveon.org
5) Support Media that Positively Displays the Humanity of Black Men and Boys: the perception of black men and boys as violent and angry without context or full humanity is at the root of so much of this conversation. Immediate Action Step: Go see Fruitvale Station - it is powerful and painful film. Sometimes there is power in pain if it mobilizes us to ACT.
6) Mentor a Young Person: make a commitment to be a present, empowering adult in the life of a young person in your community. A loving and consistent adult can be a lifesaver -- literally.
7) Make Heroes Out of the Powerful, Loving, Present Black Men and Boys in Your Lives: rather he is a janitor or a doctor or a student or a teacher affirm and love a black man or boy in your life. Media does a great job making heroes out of athletes, movie stars, and rappers. How can we begin to make heroes out of the everyday, loving, present, achieving black men and boys in our communities?
8) Turn Off the BS: Stop watching and listening to media that downgrades us and participates in our own destruction. Each time we watch a TV program or support a recording "artist" that perpetuates the lowest, basest aspects of our dysfunction we co-sign to the limiting perception others have of us and too many of us have of ourselves.
9) Make a Renewed Commitment to Your Purpose: what dream have you been suffocating with your doubts, fears, and insecurities? It is time to give your purpose breath. When you live fully in your purpose you inspire purpose in others.
10) Vote: we must change laws like Stand Your Ground and Stop & Frisk that do not serve us. We must vote out politicians that BS and do not represent our interest, and support those who will get the work done. Research and learn what your representatives are standing for and what the laws truly mean.
11) Know and Affirm the Truth of Who Are Young People Are: too often in churches, at conferences, or at the dinner table, we speak about this generation of young people with such disparaging, harsh words. We have dropped them. We have failed to tell the story of our history and set appropriate boundaries. Now we must do the heavy lifting of helping to pick them up and tell them the truth of who we are -- and of who they are. Our young people are not lost. They are more beautiful and powerful then they can even imagine. We must help them to know this truth.