With the stunning regularity of black lives being lost at the hands of law enforcement, it would be futile for The Board of Directors, LLC and The Makings of a Man Foundation to issue a statement on each of these tragedies individually. As 3 black men with 5 black sons among us, we are all too aware of the fates that have been met by many who, but for the grace of God, could be us. Too many times have we seen crimes, either real or perceived, be punished by immediate execution on the spot. Despite numerous cases where video evidence details play-by-play of said execution, convictions still escape our clutches. It saddens us deeply, and we grieve with those who have lost loved ones in such senseless manners.
While the urge to join the conversation and express our feelings after each of these tragedies is strong, we must face the stark reality that it will take more than talk to make a difference in our communities. We must turn anger and frustration into positive actions.
Through community partnerships with organizations such as the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, we hope to play a small role in strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the community. Events such as the Principles of Manhood Symposium and Manhood Academy serve not only as an opportunity to mentor young men, but also as an effort to provide a safe space for all members of the community to develop a healthy working relationship regardless of ethnicity or social background.
In the seemingly inevitable event a tragedy like this should ever occur again, please do not take our silence for apathy, acquiescence, or aloofness. We are completely aware and fully committed to taking the actions to prevent another life from being reduced to a hashtag. We hope that we are judged by the actions we take to make this world better, and not by the poetic words and images that may be posted in the wake of each tragedy.
O. Gerard Droze