“I Am A Man! I Am Responsible!” is the declaration of an underground movement afoot among a group of men (young and old, black and white, rich and poor) organizing endeavors to equip, empower, and encourage leaders of the next generation. Echoes of this declaration can be heard from the British and American abolition movements to the Civil Rights Movement and even in the Black Lives Matter Movement today.
The diverse group of men living out this declaration are doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Although these men may not be carrying signs on the front lines of protest or standing with bullhorns at rallies, they are taking responsibility for themselves, their spouses, their children, their families, and their communities. Some of these men gather regularly in communities in Boston and Atlanta for Breakfast IV Brothers. This monthly breakfast is a multicultural, multi-generational space for men to consider the challenges of the day and to use the wisdom of their collective experiences to identify strategies for taking responsible stances in boyhood, manhood, fatherhood, and in their neighborhoods.
In March 2016, 150 young men from the Greater Boston area gathered for the 5th Annual Young Men’s Leadership Conference, hosted by a group of Morehouse Men, to make strides towards being less the face of the problem and becoming a more significant part of the solution.
Unfortunately, the few movements and collaborations of men who have decided to take responsibility for their communities fail to make the headlines. But, as history has shown us when men take themselves seriously and take responsibility for their actions, inactions, and reactions; they can equip, empower, and encourage themselves and those around them for generations to come. For the men reading this blog I ask you to seriously consider the type of man you are becoming? Are you contributing to the problems facing our communities or are you a part of the solution? What quality of man are you being in the present and will you be in the future?
To meet the challenges of the day, one need not be a man of God like Moses nor be a man of steel with superhuman power and strength. But, we do need men of valor and integrity that possess courage, faith, hope, and love. We need men who are readily pursuing knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. As a man, I have endeavored to take responsibility for my actions and reactions, my thinking and feeling, myself and my community. As men we must learn the power of taking responsibility for our communities and ourselves if we are to become the leaders our nation needs us to be.
It’s time to stand up and to man up. You Are a Man! You Are Responsible!