March 13, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---A local group of community activists says they are tired of the way some young black males are growing up, and they are doing something about it.
The activists met at the CSRA Dialogue and Revival over the past two days. They say the church is the answer when it comes to saving these young people from a life of trouble.
The group says it's trying to reconnect young black males with the church, and that keeping them in the church will hopefully keep them out of prison.
There was plenty of singing and lots of praise, and dozens of testimonies were shared at Antioch Baptist Church.
"Any time you have more black males in jail than on college campuses, that should tell you something," community activist Barbara Gordon said, one of the revival's organizers.
During the two day event, panelists from all over the country met to create a plan of action aimed at steering young black males away from negative lifestyles. Gordon says that the role of the church is the first step to saving males from a life of crime, destruction and despair.
"We call it the new slavery...voluntary slavery almost," she said. "What we are trying to do is reconnect with the young black men."
"We are in a crisis state as it relates to our young black males," she went on, "and we can no longer pretend that it doesn't exist as it is."
"I wouldn't say I was bad, I was just doing things I shouldn't have been doing," Augusta teen Patrick Bennett said.
Patrick says he's been on the wrong path before, but thanks to initiatives and programs like this, he's sure he's on the path to success in life.
"I just got back with God and started praying," he said. "What I'm trying to be is an example of one of those black males trying to get ahead and trying to be successful."
"If we don't help our young black men now, what's going to happen to the future?" he asked.
"There was so much love and nurturing and it will not exist...we have no choice but to bring them back into the fold," Gordon said.
The revival was sponsored jointly by several groups, including the National Action Network, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Augusta chapter of the NAACP. It's all part of a national campaign to reactivate social activism in the black churches. The group also tackles other social issues in the black community such as healthcare, education, crime, and poverty.