Back in the late 80s to early 90s, when I was in the streets, I knew many young black men who made lots of money selling drugs. Many of these men were but teenagers or in their early 20s at the time.They had essentially no education, but yet demonstrated tremendous entrepreneurial ability. Some of these men had exceptional leadership ability and charisma. Without any type of formal education or training, these guys could strategize, plan, manage, cast vision, and lead just as well as any corporate executive. Not to mention, the people they had to lead were some of the most hardcore, ruthless and terrifying people you could ever meet.
There are tens of thousands of black men all over this country who fit this description. And unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of such black men who are dead or in prison for the rest of their lives as a result of their involvement in the violent drug trade. I can’t help but imagine what would have happened if each of these men had had a good, positive male presence and influence in their lives. If each of these men, from the time they were little boys, had a loving, responsible father or mentor there to guide, teach and discipline them, what would they have done with their lives? With all that talent and ability, these guys could have became entrepreneurs, business men and community leaders. It’s sad to think of all the talent and leadership the black community lost out on, because tens of thousands of our strongest men were wasted on the drug trade.
I don’t know about you, but this reality teaches me that we must reach out to our boys. We must mentor, be a big brother, play the role of a surrogate. We have to intervene, we are losing too many men to the streets. Until we can reverse the sad trend of fatherlessness within the black community, good men must step up and find a way to step in. Find a young man to mentor today.