We simply have lost our way with our children and through EMIY, which stands for “Encourage Me, I’m Young,” we have built our Future Leaders Mentoring Program to teach young men how to lead.
In 2015 we had Respect Day in our mentoring program. The leaders took the information to their teachers and administrators to get them to allow our young men to lead the school through its own Respect Day. Our reason for this was we noticed how our boys were being treated unfairly. In most schools bullying is a real issue, as is peer violence, racism, and, finally, suicide, which is a real issue birthed from the other issues listed above.
What happened would inspire me to take action. Not one teacher or administrator would respond to the children. So, we tried again, told each mentee, ages 8-14, to take to the school. Again, there were no calls or responses. I was upset and explained to our mentees that when you are rejected or denied there is something you can do. Later that week was our board meeting, and I was clearly upset. Our board said to me “let’s take it national!” This was notgoing to be easy so we sat and talked and looked at several statistics regarding boys and girls.
We then selected April 6, because this was Autism Month, and hoped to influence more schools to participate through the end of that year. Usually kids are distracted at the end of the year but this gave them an opportunity to focus. I would later learn that April 6th was also the day I lost my nephew (Columbus T. Mann III) in a car accident, so that added some inspiration for me.
We reached out to Beverly Green who was a partner with us on another project, “Man to Man Youth Summit” when she was at Detroit School of Arts. There we would host the event but on day of the main event, there were 38 partners doing things across the country, including Imagiread of Houston.
In Detroit, events were organized by the Red Hats, an organization of retired women, filled purses with women’s toiletries and delivered them to the Cots Shelter for women. The day was filled with Respect. The children of DSA even did a play on Colorism. It was very powerful.
In 2018, #IRespectHumanity is our declaration for the country to get involved. We must not continue watching our world and children not have respect for life. We are watching children 8 years olds commit suicide as the hopeless environments, homes, schools, jobs, and just life is taking its toll on our society, one where today we find it very cool to hate and hurt others.
Our goal this year is 1,000 schools and we will continue this forever until all children learn and know to display this at all times. Respect me, Respect You, Respect WE!
Calvin T. Mann President and Founder of EMIY Inc. and Good Fathers Only both 501c3
He is both Speaker and Author at emiyworld.com