Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Deleting "Black Men" from an Organization's Title?

A writer writes!  I currently belong to an organization that prominently features "Black Men" in our organizational title.  There is some discussion that we should delete "black men" from our organizational title. The reason being that our mission is somehow changing and that being "black men" is no longer either relevant or is unnecessary.  But, I beg to differ.  I joined the organization because of the mission that was focused on attending to the needs of black youth who needed adult black male role models. There was and remains a need for positive adult male role models in the lives of young black males who often do not have a male figure in the household.

So, the discussion on deleting "Black Men" from our organizational title has me perplexed.  I'm sure I will have the opportunity to express my opinion.  Number one, doesn't the need still exist to have black men be role models and mentors to black youth in many communities?  If so, why delete "Black Men" from the organization's title?  Does the organization believe that having "Black Men" in our organizational title make us less effective in gaining members or funding from donors?  Our organization exists to serve a specific purpose and that again is being role models and mentors to young black men.  If potential donors or possible volunteers are turned off by "Black Men" then those donors or potential volunteers truly must not believe in the mission of the organization.  Let them move on to other causes that fits their desires to assist others.

It is true that the clientele that our organization services now includes Latino students and a few Caucasian students.  But, our mission is specific and clear.  To provides services to those ethnic groups we would need to modify our curriculum and activities so they fit the needs of other ethnic groups also.  That would then modify our mission and make us a generic "We are the World" mentoring/role model group which we have never aspired to be.

When there are no longer Trayvon Martin's being profiled, and people no longer fear a  Black Man walking down the street, then there might not be a need to have "Black Men" in an organization's title. But, for now...the need continues.

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