Mentors On A Mission For Black Youth - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/20/05

Mentors On A Mission For Black Youth

"There is indeed a conspiracy to destroy our black boys as well as our black men," proclaims Reverend William Golden of The Way Christian Ministries Non Denominational Church in Gulfport.

A conspiracy Golden says is born of institutional racism.

"Human life is expendable in a nation which ignores the social and physical needs of many of it's inhabitants," says Golden.

But it's a conspiracy he says is also bred by his own community's social failings and apathy.

"We must honestly admit that there are ills in our community that have nothing to do with white supremacy or racism," says Golden.

The consequences Golden says are dire.

"The African American male will become extinct," says Golden.

However he believes the primary solution is right in front of us.

"Positive role models can do much to change this troubling situation," says Golden.

These men represent his first line of defense.

They are the mentors in the churches BEST initiative, or Boys Empowered to Save Themselves.

They represent a cross section of successful and responsible African American males who've been there, done that, and are now dedicated to helping boys aged 6 to 16 avoid the pitfalls they themselves were lucky enough to survive.

"Myself, I was kind of bad," says Hal Merritt. "I had somebody grab me by my pants and jack me up and put me in the right direction, so yeah it feels pretty good."

"I know some of the bad mistakes I made through my life and hopefully I'll help someone not make those same mistakes," say Tony Moaton.

A mission and a message they hope these young men will embrace and hopefully pass on to tomorrow's boys in crisis.

By Don Culpepper

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