The Black Men Lead movement was birthed from a desire to inspire black men to abandon their natural proclivity to compete with one another in lieu of standing together in unity. One of the greatest impediments moving against Black progression is the lack of Black male leadership. Somewhere along the way, black men chose to abdicate their roles as leaders, providers, protectors, and coverings for those in their homes and communities. Self-aggrandizement became the new order of the day, and the finger-pointing began.
My vision for Blacks as a collective group is the realization of our true potential, and that begins with the elevation and empowerment of our men. I have often said that the spiritual nature of our women can provide the altitude we need, but only our men can provide the compulsion necessary to move us forward. We can only get as high as our women can lift us, and we will only get as far as our men can lead us.
The Black Men Lead initiative should be seen as a resourced challenge to Black men to stand up and behave like Black men, leaving the childish behavior that lacks intrinsic value behind. It is both, a right of passage program for our Black male youth and a clarion call for our adult men. When I say resourced, I mean that we are not simply challenging Black men to step up, we are going to provide them with the resources and guidance necessary to do it. It starts at the top and then it becomes infectious, spreading to all who are within our periphery.
We must adopt a mindset of leading with our lives more than we lead with our words. My mother once told me that I would never have to defend myself when I allowed the life that I lived to speak for me. That is how Black men must lead. We must lead by the lives we live, and that is my vision — a nation of Black men who are leading by the lives they live.
I designed the Black Men Lead program to be a rite of passage program that would serve to properly and effectively racially socialize young Black males --- understanding that the lack of racial socialization is the second most powerful influence on African American adolescent and young adult male violence. If we are to address the inner-city violence in Black communities then we must properly socialize our young Black males.
We must provide them with a sense of self, addressing the identity crisis that was created through the absence of father figure and male role models. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million Black men are missing in the Black community and that void has left our male youth searching for themselves alone. The Black Men Lead Program is a powerful program that literally reconstructs the Black male identity to build, protect, provide and respect the Black community. To become an asset rather than a terror. We need this program.
Black Men Lead Mission Statement
The mission of Black Men Lead is to systematically engage the enigmatic issues that are plaguing the relationships between Black men in order to free them to live and function in their design and purpose. We will confront those issues that create stagnancy and the lack of progress, such as lack of purpose, the need to compete with other black men, inferiority complex, the lack of understanding black male responsibility and the need to interpolate courage where fear has run rampant — beginning through our rite of passage program.
As you can imagine it costs to facilitate a program like this, especially on a national level. We must provide everything from the securing of facilities where would engage young Black males, to the materials, field trips, further research & development, continued learning, holistic educational support, and more.
Your help in helping us take this program to the next level will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Founder & CEO
The Odyssey Project
You can also order Black Men Lead apparel to help support the organization (25 percent of each purchase will go to the Black Men Lead initiative).