What are you doing to change the narrative? Rochester has a history of deep-rooted systematic and structural racism. If you are more upset about the looting than the reasons why people of color are protesting ask yourself why. Items can be replaced, buildings can be rebuilt, but you cannot bring George Floyd and the many other black men killed by those charged to protect us back.

My truth is the first time I was pulled over in the suburbs by a white officer for no reason I was 18 years old and the last time was this past summer while with my son. A level of anxiousness still comes over me every time a police car rides behind my vehicle, particularly when I am not within city limits.

My truth is I wear a suit to work but when I am out and about without it I still get followed in stores, see people clinching their belongings, and moving away as I and/or the people I’m with walk near them.

My truth is that it is offensive when others make statements to black males such as “You are well spoken” “You are so well behaved” “You are so smart”, and etc. as if it’s not the norm and you’re surprised by it.

My truth is that the majority of the time when young men of color get in trouble the first suggestion is suspension or calling law enforcement as opposed to restorative practices which are proven to change one’s perspective.

My truth is I became an administrator at the age of 27 and since that time I have experienced stereotypes, bigotry, and racism at every level including here at Uprep. In most systems they use black men for discipline because they are scared to address our young men. The system rarely provided opportunities for us to be instructional leaders.

My truth is that many people commute to the City to work, see the disparity in resources from where they live, but choose to remain silent about it because it’s not affecting them or their children directly.

My truth is my family is from down south so my dialect at times may differ from what others consider as the proper English vernacular.

My truth is as a man of color I don’t need you to save me. I need you to understand the why, understand the history, understand the trauma and then do your part in bridging the equality gap.

My truth is that I have intentionally increased the presence of men of color at Uprep because these young men need to see examples in all areas of this profession. Many of us went through these years without seeing educators who look like us. Data supports the critical role that men of color in education play in helping students of color succeed.

My truth is that through all the adversity I continue this work because it is my responsibility as a man of color to prepare these Uprep young men and any other one I come across to get a seat at the table, bringing chairs for others to join, and build their own.

My truth is if people begin to focus on the WHY of Black Lives Matter Movement then systematic changes will begin to take place.

“We must stop constantly fighting for human rights and equal justice in a unjust system, and start building a society where equal rights are an integral part of the design. “ -Unknown

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” -Leo Tolstoy

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” –Barack Obama