Blog 4- Community Involvement
Why don’t we see more images of black men investing in their communities? Are we to believe this is an anomaly or an occasional occurrence? We are told that inner cities are plagued with violence and poverty among people of color, that aggression and lack of education is the norm. When urban youth are portrayed it is often with some negative connotation or comment, they are hardly ever represented working together. Sure, the presence of hostility is found in the inner cities as it is in rural and prominent communities, but like those other communities the inner city has a bounty of unique, intelligent, and prolific individuals dedicated to the betterment of our world.
The photograph accompanying this blog features members of a community based organization from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, “Brothers and Sisters Making a Difference” (BSMD). Under the leadership of its founder, Ellis Proctor, BSMD encourages community and self awareness through positive motivation, education, athletics and neighborhood activities. It utilizes social media to publically acknowledge outstanding report cards and academic excellence. Students are rewarded with clothing promoting a positive message, “I AM GREAT”, “BE GREAT”, or honoring familial roles; Brother, Sister, Mother, Father, Son with poetic verse. Currently, 21 BSMD youth members are in college and excelling. By empowering this younger generation of future leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, and artists the affirmation is realized, “I am Great.” Though the words are simple they are meaningful and needed.
I captured the above images while these young men were cleaning and picking up trash at a local playground and the surrounding areas. This activity happens at least once a month, so it isn’t to be confused with a onetime thing or photo opportunity. These youth could be spending their time doing a variety of other activities but they chose to come out and invest in their neighborhood. This isn’t an odd incident, this is their norm.
Again, I feel the question I asked earlier creeping up, why don’t we see images like this in the media? Is it because positive actions aren’t news or is it because stereotypes about young black men are so ingrained in our subconscious that we don’t recognize these acts? I don’t know the answer to the proposed question. All I know is that these young men are GREAT. Great because every day they face someone else’s negative perception of them, but they continually chose to make positive and impactful decisions not only for themselves but for their families and community.
Michelle Mc Donald(non-registered)
I am a proud BSMD sister we strive to be great.
This is awesome!!
You are Great!!!!!
We are definitely looking to get your
blog published, as it should....
Love it... Love it.... Love it!!!!
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