In honor of Father’s Day, I want to celebrate of the Black dads, mentors, teachers and leaders who are inspiring, rearing, teaching and leading Black boys daily. Mostly importantly, our work to dismantle mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline.

As we do this work, there has always been a need for more Black men to step up to help rear and teach our Black boys how to survive in America. However, I believe that should not take away from the many Black husbands, fathers, single dads and Black males who are involved in the lives of Black boys.

Our approach should be on Black male engagement and fatherhood.

We have to have a balance and take a different approach to improving the involvement of Black men. Male engagement is a critical piece to ending mass incarceration and saving Black boys.

City of Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, is calling on men to help mentor Black boys and teens. She has progressively been implementing restorative justice reform including recommending re-purposing the Atlanta City Jail. This is how a good example of how city leadership can support the community’s goal of dismantling the school to prison pipeline.

Black men in the community also play a key role in dismantling the school to prison pipeline. Our stories of survival and success in the classroom and in the home are what help Black boys to find success.

Black boys need fathers and strong Black male figures to survive!

Fathers Incorporated has a major literacy initiative in Metro Atlanta that impacting the success of Black boys in local barbershops. A lot Black males who are incarcerated struggle with literacy. It’s about meeting our Black men and boys where they are.

C.J. Stewart and his work with young Black boys through L.E.A.D. in the Historic Washington Park Community is helping save more of our Black boys.

Local dads are making a difference too! My father who is a local business owner has helped several young Black boys in the community graduate from our community schools. He’s also empowered other Black dads to be involved various ways for our boys to learn serving as long time school choice advocate.

We must have positive images of Black male in every area to impact the success of Black boys.

BOOK, a school choice advocacy group in Atlanta, has the Men of BOOK who are working to impact the positive representation of Black men that children of color experience in and out of the classroom.

Greg Clay is leader within BOOK who has a long time record of working to dismantle the school to prison pipeline in Atlanta by providing opportunities for success.

Ending the school to prison pipeline has seen effective changes through advocacy for better educational outcomes. This is a way to give Black males the opportunity they deserve to succeed. Organizations like Gwinnett SToPP are working around the clock to ensure more Black parents and Black boys see this.

Dismantling the school to prison pipeline is about giving Black boys a chance!

I am proud of the work Metro Atlanta is doing to give more Black boys and children of color a chance.

Telling our stories has also been a successful way of empowering Black boys. The current story of the Exonerated Five have elevated conversations on criminal justice and needed reform to end things such as stop and frisk and the school to prison pipeline.

We’re doing the work in Atlanta to reclaim our Black boys.

Famous Atlanta rapper T.I. and the Exonerated Five are calling for other Black fathers and men to stand with them in a summit to end mass incarceration.

The documentary has set a new fire under the push for ending mass incarceration as modern day form of slavery. The American school to prison pipeline is what’s leading our Black boys to incarceration.

On this Father’s Day, we’re standing up for our Black boys to say, times up!

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