On October 11 at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, The Campaign for for Black Male Achievement and the Perception Institute presented its third “Black Male Reimagined III” with an emphasis on deconstructing the the black image and identity in the pre and post-Obama America.

The all-day presentation included performances, panelists, interactive discussions which explored the ‘realities, hopes, dreams, and challenges that are tied to the identity and perception of black men and women’ informed Vice President of Communications for the Campaign of Black Male Achievement, Rashid Shabazz.

Panelists included Tracy Martin and Ron Davis, both fathers of slain children Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, discussed the challenges within themselves and others in the black community.

As the fourth anniversary of Jordan Davis’ death approaches and the rise of police brutality among young black males, Davis’ father continues to stand up for the black community. “Families are more than a fifteen minute spotlight. The media leaves, yet we still have issues surrounding us so I have to stand up because you are my children since mine was taken away from me”.

Left to Right: Shawn Dove, Ron Davis, Tracy Martin Courtesy of Black Male Reimagined

Moderator and CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Shawn Dove, inquired on the difficulty of expressing fear, anger, frustration, and hatred without being labeled as hypersensitive black male. Both Martin and Davis agreed to not deliberately neglect and disregard sensitivity because it creates ticking timebombs of stress, rage and resentment.

“Sensitivity is overlooked and as the head of the household we put a shield over ourselves. We let society tear us apart. We need to start loving people more. We need to let our sons know we love them because they are African American males with potential and help them instil respect, love, and God into their lives”, emphasized Martin. Davis concurred. “We need to learn as men how to cry and live simultaneously.

Davis recommended strategies to preserve the life and potential we as young people have yet to discover. “Seeing as how we get shot with our hands up or with our hands in our pockets, we don’t know what to do or say anymore. We need to make sure of our situations by creating safe zones for ourselves. Davis continues to suggest “if you don’t change the laws/policies, you are going to be right here on this stage with me. We have domestic terrorism but we are not here to be murdered”.

Since the killings of Jordan Davis an Trayvon Martin become catalysts for the Black Lives Matter Movement, the fathers, like other panelist have learned to manage the inevitable rage by using their platform to speak upon social change and the need for African Americans to be the change that we wish to see in the world.