Phillip Jackson, founder and CEO of The Black Star Project, a South Side-based organization, was in the Austin community last Saturday. The purpose? Men going door-to-door, delivering a message of peace, education, family values, hard work and unity in community to youth and adults. The effort is part of a national movement by black men to rebuild their communitie
Helping to organize this effort was longtime Austin organizer Yancy Carothers of the Ministry Network Coalition. Jackson and Carothers are no strangers to working with young people and especially young African-American men.
Jackson explained in a statement why this door-to-door event was necessary: “More than 44 Chicago Public School students have been killed in the last two years. Violence in Chicago is out of control. Last week, 75 mostly black men were arrested in the Austin community for selling drugs and engaging in other acts of violence and criminality in the community. While driving through the community, I saw 75 young men idle on corners and stoops, who will probably replace the 75 men who were taken to jail. Simply arresting black men and young black boys does not fix the problems that cause them to sell drugs. These problems are best fixed when men become engaged and involved in the educational and social development of children and when they participate fully as leaders in their communities.”
Those gathering on the Emmet School lot at Central Avenue and Madison Street came from various organizations. From West Side Mosque of the Nation of Islam, Yusuf Ali, Willie Muhammad, Cotrrell Muhammad and Isaac X all felt this effort was necessary because as Yusuf Ali said, “We specialize in working with our young black men and Minister Caleb, who leads our West Side Mosque, is always willing to help make a change for our young brothers. Regardless to our religious affiliation we must all work together to address this killing of young black boys and men.”
Prior to stepping off on their door-to-door mission, Jackson addressed all of the men. He asked the various organizations present to call out their names, which included First Strike Program, Ministry Network Coalition, Black Star Project, People’s Army, Block Club University and Citizens for a Safer Community. Jackson reminded everyone that while they were preparing for this event, the teacher who was killed last week while picking up her children was being funeralized at this same moment. “And so the question is what are we going to do? This is not about meetings; this is about action.
“We plan on taking this to other communities-Woodlawn, Englewood and Roseland. Brother Yancy has brought us here to the West Side and we are ready to roll,” Jackson said.
The men began walking east to Pine Avenue, then north along Pine and then east on Lake Street, ending at Madison and Laramie. As people came to their doors or yards, the men passed out their literature and encouraged residents to join them.
Carothers used his bullhorn, shouting out some of the Ten Commandments for Black Men in Relationship to Children listed on their flyers:
1) You are responsible for the proper education of your children. Not the mother and not the school. You are.
2) Reach out to all children in your community. Speak to every child and every person in your community.
3) Listen to your children, and then talk with your children, not “to” your child.
4) Spend time with black boys so that they can learn to be black men. You are the only model they can follow to this destination.
5) Teach black boys respect for women and girls. Model respect for their mother. This is the beginning of creating good fathers and husbands.
6) Support other black men when they are telling children and youth what is right. Work with other black men to build institutions and communities that will protect and nurture our children.
7) Disrupt the massive, negative electronic, digital, anti-family, and anti-educational programming that is destroying black children, the black family, and the black community.
8) Create a positive, safe passage for your children that they can follow to future success. Don’t tell them the way; show them the way!
9) Teach your children how to be successful in the world of work or as an entrepreneur, and the value of hard work.
10) You are responsible for the spiritual training of your children. Turn to God, Allah or other higher spiritual powers for guidance and courage to be a good man and a good father.