Phaedra: There is Still Work to Do

Phaedra Parks opens up about her experience at the Million Man March.

Save Our Sons

As the entire country pauses to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and reflect on the significant impact of his leadership and all of the great accomplishments during his short life, I wanted to share my thoughts on an issue very close to my heart.

In this week’s episode I took my sons, Ayden and Dylan, to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Million Man March. During our visit we met with several members of Congress who have worked tirelessly to afford access to opportunities and resources for young black men. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL24) has a powerful initiative called The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project; an in-school dropout prevention and mentoring program that aims to support minority boys through the completion of high school and enrollment into college, the military, and vocational school. President Obama recognized Rep. Wilson's program during his 2014 unveiling speech of “My Brother’s Keeper,” a historic initiative which supports and builds upon initiatives that create pathways to success for male minority youth in this country.

I am working with Congresswoman Wilson to fully develop and build my program, Save Our Sons, which shares the vision of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project. I endeavor to connect young black boys with the necessary resources, which will afford them the opportunity to matriculate in this society in a productive manner.

During the past 48 years, since King's death, there has been significant progress made in this country. Technology has given us the ability to achieve things we never dreamed possible and the opportunities available to young people has never been greater. People are more aware of the need to recognize and honor the rights of groups that have historically been unjustifiably ostracized, including women and the LGBT community. However, there is still so much more work to do.

Black boys and young black men still face unfair and prejudicial treatment that many naively believe was abolished years ago. I have spent time with the families of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Sandra Bland and many others who have experienced the cruel and meaningless loss of a child at the hands of unjustified fears and/or misunderstandings. This mistreatment, which is embedded in the propagation of stereotypes, is very much alive and well. While we have made great advances in establishing laws which honor equality for African-Americans, there is still more work to be done in order to ensure that there is truly justice for all.

I am the mother of two black boys and feel a responsibility and moral obligation to be an activist and catalyst for change. Our society is incredibly advanced in some ways and unbelievably backwards in others. We must unite, not as blacks and whites but as human beings in order to effect the change that is necessary to create a world where all of our children are safe and have the opportunity to succeed. As Dr. King once said "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I am appreciative that he ignited the race for equality and justice, but I know we must now make it across the finish line.

Xoxo,
Phaedra

Twitter/Instagram: @Phaedraparks
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www.phaedraparks.com

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