Washington DC “I love Black men who mentor” was one of the most popular slogans this past Wednesday as the #MenWhoMentor Campaign, sponsored by Capital Cause and Cause Driven, culminated its 2-month crowd-sourcing Giving Circles Project (GCP).
The TEAM: Campaign members were Nicholas Gourdine, Jennifer Rhodan, Joshlyn Ross, Letitia Tajuba and the team was co-led by Gee James (myself) and Ora Wiseman.
The brainchild of Wiseman, #MenWhoMentor began as a twitter chat to discuss solutions and plans of action that would attack the disparity and lack of black men in mentoring programs. Capital Cause’s GCP was the perfect platform to take the initiative to the next steps. May 31, 2013 is the last day to sign up through this specific campaign, so CLICK HERE!
We agreed on a mission of:
- Recruiting 50 Black men (as well as countless men and women of any group) to mentor Black male youth in the Washington, DC metro area by May 31, 2013.
- Raising funds to gift 50 Black boys with a copy of Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Black Boys & Men authored by Brandon Frame.
My thoughts: One of my women friends jokes by saying that getting a Black man to move from “casual” to “commitment” is one of the great challenges of the modern day world. Although that statement is hyperbolic, my ten years of mentoring in the DMV say that there’s at least some truth to those words. Although I support #MenWhoMentor, I was hesitant to fully commit (look how that works) to such a goal because I didn’t want to fail. Fortunately I believe in hard smart work, faith, and that everything rises and falls on leadership. I’m super humbled and sincerely thankful to the #MenWhoMentor team members, the Capital Cause board and GCP leaders and the Cause Driven team for the coaching, feedback, support and competency. I’m proud to say that the team met both of our goals!!
Commitment: I understand that signing up is but the first step… we want the 50 Black men, and all others who signed up to mentor, to actually be matched with a young person. I have committed my life to mentorship and my personal slogan is “NO MENTEE LEFT BEHIND.” In order to accomplish this, we need our young boys to have mentors. Whether someone calls it coaching, being a big brother, ally or buddy, we need our young boys cared for. I personally think that every adult Black male should have at least one mentee, no exceptions. Ladies, if you have men in your lives who aren’t pouring themselves into a young person, give them the side eye!
Fuel: Less than seven days ago and just a few blocks away from where we held the event in DC, my car was vandalized and one of my closest possessions was stolen by two young Black brothers. It upset me greatly and (after I finished crying… b/n me and you!) also fueled me even more towards our cause of mentorship. I don’t expect our program to rid the city of all of its crime, but I do believe in the principle seed and harvest (thanks Mama). Our goal is simply to have our young Black boys make better decisions concerning respect for themselves and others. #endstory
Shoutout: If you’re still interested in mentoring or even just want more information, check out and JOIN one of the organizations that showed up this week: Concerned Black Men, Men Aiming Higher, ESBN, and Thurgood Marshall Academy (where I’ve been mentoring since 2010). If none of these programs are a great fit for where you are in life, contact me and I’ll help you get matched with another program.
Super shoutout to the Lonye Nicole team, super “promoter in pumps,” for hosting us and supporting the cause. And huge love to Laydia Olusa of Elle Lowe Designs + Photography for supporting Capitol Media USA via photography.
And the BIGGEST thank you goes to the supporters, donors and Black men who signed up to mentor. The journey is but at its beginning and it will be an exciting one! Mentoring is one relationship that changes TWO lives! Get changed! Get committed!
Today, I’m thankful for committed Black men who stop being casual and START being committed! And I’m thankful for YOU! God bless.