Happy Monday! It has been quite some time since we last came together so we have a bit of catching up to do. Since my last post about Daniel “Boone” fuller, also known as “The Man on the Billboard” I took some time to look at and evaluate the current state in which the community I live is in. Saint Louis, Missouri has been the subject of national news for over a year following the murder of Mike Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. This unjust act sparked national outrage and shined a light on the  killings of unarmed black men and women by law enforcement. In cities all across the country [and the world] “Black Lives Matter” has been at the forefront of protests, giving voices to those who can no longer speak for themselves and bringing police brutality to the forefront. I salute the men and women who stand for such a worthy cause.

But there is also another war going on here in Saint Louis that deserves just as much attention. For years Saint Louis has been ranked in the top five most dangerous cities in the country, leading with a murder rate in the mid to high one hundreds each year. This year alone over 130 homicides have happened in the city of Saint Louis most of which being African-American men. It is this fact alone that added fuel to the fires already burning within me regarding senseless violence in my community. In conversation with a good friend [who just happens to be a black male] it hit me that women truly hold the power to forge change. Because I pride myself on this site being for everyone I do my best not to touch on racial issues or focus too much on one demographic of people. However, this is one of those posts aimed towards those who look like me; it is not my intention to offend or lose readers. So here goes.

Initially I was going to delve deep into the history of the Black man but I’d rather get straight to the point. I made the statement that women [black women] have the power to inflict change in the community, but I have yet to expound on that notion. When I was younger I remember watching my mother encourage my step-father each day to be safe when he went to work, do the right thing and do his best to stay out of harm’s way. This was a virtue that stuck with me through the years and I too encouraged the men in my life to strive for greatness each day when he stepped outside his door. When I think back to the days of slavery and what is depicted in film and learned in books it was the woman who was the source of the man’s strength. No matter how society beat him down she was there lifting him back up reminding him of his worth. That virtue has been lost and instead of encouraging and promoting greatness women seem to be doing the opposite. Encouraging dangerous and reckless behavior that could result in death or imprisonment. This has to stop! Our men are not only becoming children of the streets but they are also becoming victims. In order to take back our streets we must first take back our boys and men, it begins at home. Each morning when I send my son off to school I tell him “Remember, you are a King in training and you are destined to be great.” I recognize that the odds are already stacked against him statistically but that does not create his fate in life. Power is in the tongue and as long as I am speaking and breeding positivity into his life I can combat the negativity that surrounds him as a black man being raised by a single mother. The same goes for the men in my life, they need to be reminded that they come from a long line of Kings and to accept nothing less than greatness.

So I decided to begin with one week of positive affirmations to the men in my life and those I encounter on a daily basis. It could be something as simple as telling him that he is appreciated or asking him how his day was. I charged each woman around me to do the same and asked that they share the challenge with others. From that “Building Up Black” was born. Each day I will post an affirmation on my social media sites using the hashtag #BuildingUpBlack and hope that just as we can repost and share useless hashtags such as #EggPlantFriday that we share this. I know there is much work to be done to repair our communities but this is my contribution to the fight.

Today’s affirmation:

Dear Black Men,

“Adjust your crown.”

-The Black Woman

Love yourselves and each other…