Robert Jackson on Indianpolis Is On a Mission to Save Young Black and Latino Men

Local males host events designed to address Black male issues
Local males host events designed to address Black male issues

In today’s society, there are a myriad of issues facing Black men including Black-on-Black crime, high unemployment rates, drug use, lack of education, poor quality of life, and an unhealthy relationship with law enforcement.

And while it’s going to take a village to solve many of these issues, many believe it’s going to take men helping other men. Two Indianapolis men have risen to the challenge and are providing opportunities for their fellow man to step up, heal from internal pain and gather tools to lead a better life.

Holding men accountable

Like many men, Robert Jackson grew up without his biological father. His stepfather was abusive and he and his family lived in poverty. He also witnessed numerous acts of senseless violence in his Brightwood neighborhood, which left him as a broken and bitter young man.

Yet the Perry Meridian High School graduate did something that he said changed his attitude and in turn, his life.

“I stopped making excuses for my upbringing,” said Jackson, who said the light bulb turned on when his first son was born in 1998. “Also, one of my best friends was murdered. I got tired of burying young men that looked like me and watching them go to prison. I wanted to stop the cycle.”

Jackson attended college at Western Kentucky University, has played professional football and was a teacher at Arlington High School, but is currently using his passion for helping Black men to make a difference in his community.

He is a speaker and the author of No More Excuses: Black Men Stand Up!, which he said is used as a tool to help Black and Latino male youths across the U.S.

Jackson took baby steps to get to where he is today and shares that with the men he meets. Men are taught to be tough and rugged, yet they are passing on negative traits to their children that perpetuate a cycle.

Jackson challenges young men to admit to their issues, discuss and deal with those issues in order to break destructive cycles, forgive the people who have caused the pain in their lives and begin healing by getting help.

Once men do this, Jackson said the Black family can improve.

Black men must take responsibility for themselves, but Jackson said the blame isn’t totally on them.

“We have people in positions to hire these men and people in positions to be a consistent mentor, but no one is doing anything,” said Jackson.

Jackson is taking his message a step further by hosting the “2014 No More Excuses: Black Men Stand Up Conference” on May 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

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Source: Indianapolis Recorder | JESSICA R. KEY

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