On Friday night, a powerful and committed group of Black men--the Black Male Alliance--held a peace rally in the parking lot opposite the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center on the corner of Church and Dodge. It was the kick-off to the next five weeks during which they'll hold events, meet with young men one-on-one, and more.
Their commitment is to work to stop gun violence in Evanston. Over the next several weeks, we'll be sharing ways you can help support the Alliance and their work.
We'll also post more photos and videos from Friday night and a full report soon about this initiative spearheaded by:
Nathan Norman; Rudy Meo; Genaro Hernandez; Kevin L. Brown; Oliver A. Ruff; Jermey Mccray; Maurice Wilkerson; Evanston Police Department Officers Adam Howard, Lloyce Spells, and Corey McCray; Rick Marsh; Pastors Rick Thomas, Karl Angelia Adair, and Demond Mills; Robert Pressoir; Robert Reese; and community activists Justin McCray, Jeron Dorsey, Alando Massie, and Bamidele Ali.
This morning, we're sharing the words of Pastor Michael Nabors, senior pastor of Second Baptist Evanston and President, Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP, and a poem he wrote and recited on Friday night.
"I appreciate all these Black men who have come together and decided something must be done--not tomorrow, not next week, not next month--something must be done now to stop what is happening in our town," said Pastor Nabors.
"Not one more Black man can die from gun violence in the town of Evanston. Not one more. So many of us are already dying from Covid, from the resurgence of racism in this country.
The idea that we are killing each other is completely unacceptable. We know there are extenuating political and social realities. We are not just going on the street and shooting each other. There is a systematic structure that has been developed for us to hate each other, but I'm telling you that love is stronger than hate."
Bittersweet: The Story of Black Men in America
This madness is in me in my heart, my brain, and blood And like the power of the Nile that rises high and often floods
I can't sit on it, press it, or keep it down, It's as close to me as my skin is brown.
Open up my eyes and I find it right there I open up my door it's in the sun's bright glare.
I step outside and stand on the corner of my street And the madness is in me not too bitter, not too sweet,
The story of the Black man is bittersweet indeed
Its a universal story with a universal creed
Like a plant in the garden that began with a small seed
It grew bigger and bigger like an evil man’s greed
You may well wonder what it is I’m talking about What is this thing that makes me cry, yell, shout?
What's this thing that angers me and makes me just not care? What’s this thing that strangles me and takes away my air?
It's the story of the Black man, and Black man is my name If I'm not really careful I’ll go insane.
There's nothing more tragic than a Black man's life From birth to death and is filled with pain and strife.
Such odds are against him as he sleeps in his mother's arms, The only time you'll be thrilled by a woman’s charms.
Because nothing is more thrilling than simply trying to survive.
What are the odds that after 20 he'll be alive?
Hated and despised for who he is, Running and dodging bullets passing by in a blurry whizz.
It's tragic to see the future before your eyes, And wonder, “Am I better off dead or alive?
There is so much more that I want to say But there are not enough hours in a 24-hour day,
To tell you the pain that I feel. How can I let you know this thing is real?
How can I let you in on the Black man’s plight, Except to say it stays with him day and night.
He sleeps it, he eats it, he drinks it at every meal. He knows that it will never ever stop until The world we live in is colorblind and knows that we all are one of a kind.
Until then, every Black man that you look at, when you look at him recognize, there is a bittersweet existence.