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Dr. Rick Wallace Launches the Black Men Lead Initiative
Published author, black community strategist and founder of the Odyssey Project, Dr. Rick Wallace launches the Black Men Lead initiative.
By: Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.
Starting in his city of residence, Dallas, TX, Dr. Wallace committed himself to direct engagement of at risk youth in the inner city. Since the initial launch of the program, he has launched the program in his hometown of Houston, TX. Now, he is in the process of working with citizens in Wilmington, DE to engage the challenges they are facing as the struggle with elevated violence in the inner city. In December of 2014, Wilmington was dubbed Murdertown, USA, a distinction that they are fighting hard to shed.
Dr. Wallace has suggested that the issues that are going on in U.S. cities like Wilmington and Chicago are simply a microcosm of the struggle of blacks in America. He believes that while the dynamic that is behind the violence is immensely complex, it can be effectively engaged if people are truly committed to creating change. While evaluating the violence and unrest in a number of cities across the nation, Dr. Wallace noticed a common denominator that is at the core of many of the problems that are plaguing Black America — the lack of a committed male presence.
It was the lack of a male presence that inspired Dr. Wallace to launch the Black Men Lead initiative. As a part of the launch, Dr. Wallace described the initiative and what he expects to accomplish by launching it.
“I have said for years that the dynamic that drives the elevation and the progression of the black race is complex in nature. It requires the commitment of both, black men and black women. Women have a unique gift that allows them to lift and elevate those in their periphery. Men are natural leaders, and so, their leadership is required to provide the forward progress necessary for blacks to move ahead. This is why I continue to say that we will only get as high as our women can lift us, and we will only go as far as our men will lead us.
When I survey the current landscape of Black America, and America in general, one of the most prevalent realities that I am faced with, is that black men are not present or active in the areas of greatest turmoil. The suburban black male is present, but it is not in the suburbs where we are suffering. The communities in which I engage youth in Dallas have a 95 percent female head of household ratio. Now, there are multitudinous variables that contribute to the male absence in these communities, such as the high incarceration rate, homicide and parental conflict, to name a view. What must be understood is that there can be no excuses for male absenteeism in the black community. While there may be a shortage of black men in the inner city, there cannot be an absence of black men in the inner city. This calls for the suburban father to extend his reach into the inner city to make his presence felt there. This is what the Black Men Lead initiative is all about. It is about challenging black men to take themselves out of their comfort zone to engage the need for male leadership where there are currently very few males to take on the role.”
Dr. Wallace has been pushing for the men in Wilmington to commit to being present, and then commit to introducing his Black Community Empowerment initiative in Wilmington. He believes that elevation and empowerment for blacks is not only possible, but it is well within reach of those who will simply come together and take hold of it.
To learn more about the Black Men Lead Initiative, visit the official page at http://www.theodysseyproject21.com/
The Odyssey Project