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BRIDGES

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

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After witnessing some of the injustices that were happening in communities of color my husband decided to become apart of the bridge for effective change in the lives of our youth. In his words.... " I don't want to just make noise. I want to make a difference".

He became a Big Brother and has truly enjoyed the process. While it is a BLESSING for any man or woman to use their time to sow into the lives of our children the organization has been lacking in participation of African American men. I hope that deficit does NOT continue and more African American men will consider signing up and giving their time to this worthwhile organization.

 

Below are my husband’s words and what motivated him to ACTION.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I woke up this morning and decided to do a quick sketch of how I felt last night. I drew myself a little bigger than I am right now, but there's a reason for that that I'll share in a sec.

Yesterday, I was reading an article about the shooting of Cedric Chatman a few years ago. He was an unarmed teenager who was shot while running away from the police and the video was just released. I got angry, but then I got back to work, got back on my grind.

I'm trying to get a film off the ground that I've been wanted to do for a long time and that's where my focus has been. The film will shoot in DC so I decided to do some research on a couple of locations I was thinking about using and I found some videos about the gentrification and displacement that's not only taking place there, but in many cities across the country. What was instantly clear is that the vast majority of the people who are being uprooted from their homes look like me. I got angry again.

Then when I decided to jump on Instagram for a sec. I hadn't watched or read any news that day, so I thought I was seeing a reaction to the video of Cedric Chatman's shooting, but I soon realized that Alton Sterling had been killed. An unjustified, unnecessary killing of another husband, another father, another Black man. Tears streamed down my face because this time, not only did I get even angrier, I felt guilty.

While these injustices have been going on and seemingly getting worse, what have I been doing about it?

Yeah, I try to be a good dude. I try to support a good cause when I can, throw a few dollars here and there, hit the "like" button on a positive post on the rare occasion I'm on social media these days. I spend the bulk of my time building and pushing my creative endeavors; my acting career, artwork and film projects. That's enough to keep anybody busy, but the truth of the matter is, there's more for me to do and I haven't been doing it.

Jesse William's words on the BET awards a couple of weeks ago started me thinking about what I wanted people to remember about me when I leave this place. Did I try to make it better while I was here? Did I stand for something or would I just be the dude who guest-starred on a TV show every now and then and drew sneakers and superheroes in his spare time?

About that sketch that I did this morning, I wanted to depict the anger that I felt but I wanted to represent myself in a certain way. I drew my muscles bigger because I wanted to represent the power that I know I have. The power to do SOMETHING. That strength isn't just reserved for the superheroes I draw.

I talked to some good friends of mine late last night and we've pledged to get active in our communities and to hold each other accountable for doing so. There are too many kids who don't have male role models in their lives that they can actually touch and it's our responsibility to do something about it. We're going to start mentoring. It's a way to get involved and make an immediate impact on some level while figuring out the best way to tackle the other multi-layered problems that plague our community. I don't want to just make noise. I want to make a difference.

I commend all of the brothers who have already been out there, doing the work. I'm sorry it took me this long to join you in a more meaningful way.

 

-Ryan Sands

 

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