I, like many members of the Black community, feel frustrated and tired. The mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual strain on me as a Black man is a reality. It is painful to continue watching Black people be profiled, victimized, and murdered by law enforcement across this country.
Growing up in the Black community and dedicating my career to the Black community is significant. And, as I watch events unfold on television and social media, I question will we ever see change? Will we ever see justice?
In my role as the Executive Director of Elevate Oregon, I am committed to providing mentorship opportunities to young Black and Brown youth, yet right now, it is difficult to focus on the lessons we constantly teach them—be respectful, be humble, be polite to everyone. How can we teach these things when there is so much hate manifesting itself in this country? —At the hands of individuals who are sworn to protect us. It is difficult to teach these lessons as Black people continue to die at the hands of police in this country. What will our lessons look like moving forward? How will our mentors continue to instill these values and at the same time acknowledge that being a kind, polite, and responsible person doesn’t necessarily mean that you might not lose your life?
While we will never condone violence as a solution, we won’t stop our fight. We won’t stop empowering and educating our youth. We won’t stop helping them process their feelings and frustrations as we all try to make sense of what is happening around us. We remain committed to Elevate youth and the community.
In the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”