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Young Men, Coworkers Participate in Conversation on Black Masculinity

Young Men, Coworkers Participate in Conversation on Black Masculinity

A group of young men from Mercy Home, along with coworkers and MercyWorks volunteers, recently attended the Chicago Ideas talk “The Meaning of Manhood and the Evolution of Black Masculinity.”

They joined a sold-out crowd at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on the south side of Chicago for an honest conversation in celebration of black men and their past accomplishments and future potential. Pastor Charles Jenkins welcomed Xavier Ramey, Charlamagne Tha God, and DeVon Franklin to share their experiences and the journey it took to reach their full potential.

When reflecting on the experience, our young men agreed that the topics discussed had deep relevance to their lives and they related to each of the speakers.

“[All of it] just spoke to me,” Deandre explained.

When reflecting on the experience, our young men agreed that the topics discussed had deep relevance to their lives and they related to each of the speakers.

One topic that particularly resonated with the boys was the difficulty many boys and men have in sharing their feelings with their friends, in fear that being vulnerable will later be used against them.

“For me, I think we have to stop worrying about society’s definition of what a man is,” Charlamagne Tha God said during the talk. “A real man isn’t afraid to have conversations; he isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind.”

This was something one of our young men struggles with often.

“I can’t really tell friends [about my] feelings, because they don’t want to hear about it [or they will] use it against you,” he said.

Part of the talk also challenged the attendees to reflect on their behavior toward women.

“I believe that us as men have caused way too much pain in the lives of women … we need to be accountable and responsible for our behavior.”

“I believe that us as men have caused way too much pain in the lives of women … we need to be accountable and responsible for our behavior,” DeVon said during the talk.

He asked all the attendees to stand up and make a commitment during the presentation to do things like respect the females in their lives, not to blame women for their own actions, understand that “no means no,” and tell the truth.

Our boys said they were glad to be given things to reflect on and be challenged in that way. They agreed that they left the talk with lots to consider, and were grateful for the opportunity to attend.

The program closed with Pastor Jenkins asking each speaker, “who are the best examples of black masculinity?”

“The vision of what I can become,” Xavier answered.

We believe each of our young men have the potential to model positive masculinity both at Mercy Home and in our community!

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