LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A group rallied in downtown Lexington Saturday afternoon calling on the community to protect Black men.
Advocacy and academic group, the Black Males Working Academy, hosted the “Save our Sons” rally. The program is about motivating Black men and helping change negative perceptions.
Its mission is to educate, motivate and activate the potential for excellence that lies within every African American man. Founders Roszalyn Akins and Roger Cleveland say it’s been doing just that for nearly 16 years.
“We teach them and tonight is just a way of coming together to our community to say this is the future of Lexington.”
There was singing, spoken word and a powerful moment as young men lined up with photos of Black people killed by police in recent history.
They say the program, open to young men from kindergarten through 12th grade, offers academic lessons, trips abroad, and even classes on how to handle encounters with police.
Cleveland says the group meets with Lexington Police every year to discuss expectations.
Trayvon Mason is a sophomore in high school. He says he’s built more character through the academy.
“What I’m going to take away is just be responsible for what you do,” Mason says. “If you see something, say something.”
Eighth grader Corey Peoples says he’s learned how to handle tough situations.
“They’ve taught me how to be a king as your own person and staying positive as you go along in life,” says Peoples.
Akins and Cleveland say more than 1,000 men have graduated and 40 are currently in college. Cleveland says the program has changed many lives, and he hopes society shifts its attitudes.
“They have a lot of talent and a lot of potential and with the right support from their families and the community, they can strive and do very well, and not the perception that you have and the stereotypes that you have about young black men.”