A woman’s perspective: Our time is now to support our youth


by Jerri Lynn Coleman

To our Black youth and men of essence who call themselves men with character and integrity, I am calling you out to take a stand, to stand for something. What will your “something” be? Whatever it may be, allow yourself to empower, enhance and impact someone’s life for the better. You can start with your own children.

Boy visits Dad in prison on Father's DayYour influence could cause a young man to want a better life for himself, to feel like he can achieve and succeed in his dreams and goals. Your time could show that they are worthy to be with and around. Your presence alone could speak volumes to a child who feels unloved, unworthy or misunderstood.

Your words could make a difference between life or death for someone who is on the verge of suicide. You may even impact some young person who is looking for a better way out of their current situation and is thinking about quitting school to sell drugs or live a life of criminal activities.

Our youth age 15-30 have poured into the prison system, flooding its compounds like it’s a college campus. Something is wrong with this picture. Black men, it’s your time to change these prison population percentages by being in your children’s lives. Get connected and watch your child grow into healthy and productive young men and women. Give them a positive lifestyle and behavior to pass down to their own generations to come.

Our time is now to …

  • start spending quality time with your children
  • respect your child’s mother – for your child’s sake
  • be your own child’s hero and role model
  • know your child’s whereabouts
  • know who they are spending time with
  • take your child to church – don’t just send him or her; you go too
  • have that man-to-man talk – keep it real
  • go to parent-teacher meetings
  • ask how things are going at school, at home and with their friends

Let a real man stand up and be a father

We are so quick to call on Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson when a White person or cop has killed a Black person. For example, the Trayvon Martin case. Please do not misunderstand my statement concerning the good reverends or the concern of communities all across the world. We also need to take into consideration and focus on our Black on Black crime and how we are losing our sons and daughters to the belly of the beast, which is unjust and corrupt, especially in my home state of Mississippi.

Your influence could cause a young man to want a better life for himself, to feel like he can achieve and succeed in his dreams and goals. Your time could show that they are worthy to be with and around. Your presence alone could speak volumes to a child who feels unloved, unworthy or misunderstood.

To sit back and do nothing to stop the corruption of our children and the destruction of their lives and future is like watching a pimp beat his whore down on the street corner. We can’t turn our head or back as if we are immune to this kind of behavior in our communities. We can start by reaching out to one child at a time. We can take back and clean up our communities and our streets, one at a time.

What happened to the concept of “it takes a village to raise a child?” We need to utilize that concept! We need more fathers to step up and participate in their children’s lives. I’ve heard all kind of excuses why a person may have acted a certain way.

To the parents of teenagers, whether in the free world or behind bars, we must keep the lines of communication open with our children. Be real with them about how crime does not pay. They must abide by the law of the land. If they break the law, there are consequences for their actions.

Your words could make a difference between life or death for someone who is on the verge of suicide. You may even impact some young person who is looking for a better way out of their current situation and is thinking about quitting school to sell drugs or live a life of criminal activities.

In closing, I am addressing all the real men! Yes, I said real men! If a child’s father is not around, allow a real man from the neighborhood to play the father role in the child’s life. Then watch the difference in that child’s life you’ve impacted. One child at a time – we’ve got to start somewhere. Therefore, let a real man stand up and be a father! Together let’s stop Black on Black crime!

Send our sister some love and light: Jerri Lynn Coleman, L2353, CMF-2A, P.O. Box 88550, Pearl, MS 39288.

 

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