Dr. John E. Warren
Just a few show years ago, San Diego lead the nation in addressing the problems and issues of the African American males in our communities. Black Men United was organized as an informal group of men that met every Saturday morning at 8:00 at a local church for four years. The group came together informally following the murder of two African American women in the community killed on their way home from church on New Years Eve. This group was composed of pastors, former gang members, muslims, educators, janitors, the unemployed, young, old and some wannabe gang members. This group also had African American police officers who were Black men and welcomed as a part of the community, separate and apart from their employment. The group helped single mothers with their sons, volunteered in schools as mentors to where the need was identified, walked the streets against gang violence and on its own investigated shootings and worked to stop retaliations where the possibilities were identified. All this was done without a ‘non-profit” organization or the asking for funds or grants. One African American business owner gave $10,000 to help the organization because he saw and believed in what was being done. Another African American businessman gave furniture when the organization opened offices on Federal Blvd. But time took its toll on families and relationships; individual businesses suffered and eventually the organization sought funding and a non-profit status and saw the creation of the Gang Commission as a direct result of the concerns raised by Black Men United on the documenting of our youth as gang members just for being on the streets in the course of travel.
The “I am My Brother’s Keeper” program operated by Mohammed Mosque #8 has operated in the community since that time under the leadership of Student Minister Hugh Mohammed, and Brother Charles Alexander has continued to carry the torch. The Counsel of Elders of Black Men United has lost some of its members to death, sickness, job relocations and other causes. But a number of these men have never stopped working with this problem. Now comes President Obama with his “I am My Brother’s Keeper” iniative and once again the problem of the Black male is back on the Radar.
The Publisher of the Voice & Viewpoint as a founding member of Black Men United is calling for a meeting of those who participated in Black Men United including Minister Hugh Mohammed and Brother Charles from ‘My Brother’s Keeper” to discuss what we might do today not only for our African American males, but also for our African brothers who are also affected by this crisis. Those men interested in this preparation for what we intend to be an April Town Hall Meeting on Black males in our community (date to be determined) should contact this newspaper either by email, telephone face book or fax with your names and numbers so that we might have your input in preparing for this important meeting.