African-American community leaders implored a sea of mostly black men at a Baltimore church yesterday to mentor black youth and help stop a “genocide” of black males being lost to homicide, reports the Baltimore Sun. The speakers included a pastor, a city councilman, a community activist, a public safety official, a school administrator and nonprofit directors — all African American —who led a discussion before a crowd of about 1,000 on how black men should stop violence, read to young people and employ teens. The meeting was convened by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who issued a “call to action” urging black men to do more to curtail the killing of African-Americans, who made up nearly 90 percent of all homicide victims last year.
“To see someone being hurt, to see someone being killed, to see the violence to see the madness going on — there’s something instinctual that’s supposed to be happening as a man,” said Munir Bahir, a leader of the 300 Men March, who organizes “street engagement” teams to reach disassociated youth. “When you see harm, when you see people being victimized, you stand up and you want to do something.” The meeting was broadcast over the Internet and publicized on social media with the hashtag #WeCanEndIt. When mentorship came up, the Rev. Jamal Bryant called on 20 men to stand and immediately sign up for a volunteer program. When a single mother asked the mayor what the city could do to help employ her son and keep him out of trouble in the summer, City Councilman Brandon Scott said the city’s YouthWorks program is hiring record numbers and a city staffer took down her name.