This is a story shared by Melita Carter – one of our youth development facilitators – all of whom utilize their talents and passion to help youth in our community succeed. We’re very lucky to have Melita as well as all of our other youth development facilitators on our team. After reading her essay, we think you’ll agree!
Last Friday, as I was leaving a PLC elementary school program, I came to the stop light of 42nd and Post Rd and saw a young African American male with three children. He was crossing two very busy streets while holding one child in one arm, carrying a three month old in a car seat, and leading a four year who was holding onto the baby’s car seat. This young man had on no coat or gloves, was struggling with all these children, and it was freezing outside.
As he passed me, I rolled down my window and yelled to him, “Hey brother would you like a ride?” He stopped and looked at me shivering and replied, “Yes!! Please that would be nice!”
I told him to hold on while I made a u-turn at the light. We put the kids in the car, and I proceeded to drive him home and, as always, I never meet a stranger so we talked like we were old friends.
I said to him, “Where are you coming from?”
He said, “I just left an interview from Johnny Rockets downtown, and I had to take my kids over to my brother’s house because he said he would watch them. But it took me two hours on the bus to get them there and for me to get to my interview on time.”
I asked him, “What do you like to do as far as work?”
He responded, ” I would like to do alot of things, but I can’t really because I have felonies and I can’t do much with the felonies I have.”
So, I asked him, “What are your felonies in?”
He said without hesitation, “Robbery, and drug charges. Thats why I had to make it to my interview today, because they were talking about 9.50/hr for a dishwasher, that’s better than anything I ever been offered. And I have to see about my children.”
I responded cheerfully, and told him ” I am proud of you, and you are doing a fantastic job. I know it may seem hard now and it doesn’t seem like you’re going to make it. But I promise you, you will. I will see what I can do as far as job leads. But keep your head up, and raise your children right. Keep doing what you’re doing it’s going to come back. Teach your children how to be respectful, kind, caring, honest, humility, and integrity. Teach them to become more. Teach them that that they are powerful, and that they matter to society. Teach them that they are Kings and your daughter is a Queen.”
We laughed and talked, and finally arrived at his house. He said thank you as I helped his children out of the car.
I immediately thought about how people believe every black father is leaving their offspring, and how all these young black fathers aren’t anything…How they are no good, and worthless and don’t want to work. They are irresponsible, and running away from their responsibilities. On that day those stereotypes and myths were destroyed when I saw him struggling with his children in the cold. He did what he had to do just like parents are supposed to do. Not all men are dogs, not all men leave their children to suffer. Not all men want to be unsuccessful. Black men continue to rise up and break the cycle, and demolish the myths and stereotypes that plagues you. If you have to walk in the cold with your babies, do it. Whatever you have to do by any means necessary. Rise KINGS RISE!