In Demand

by Christopher Rutherford

Calling all brothers! Calling all brothers! This refrain echoed in a poem by Aneb Kgositsile, speaks to the urgency that lies at the door of our educational institutions and community. Black men make up only 2% of this nation teaching force and the movement to recruit them into education is growing. The call is not just to encourage more black men to choose education as a career, but also to become more engaged in mentoring, and volunteering in schools

We know that there are many Black men who are very active in the lives of our children but imagine the impact when even more get involved. Statistics prove that when young black boys are exposed to positive Black men, particularly a teacher, they are less likely to drop out of school, more likely to finish high school, more likely to be happy about coming to school every day and Black boys as well as girls have a stronger expectation of going to college.

We’ve always known the power of Black men in the family, however, for too long, we’ve ignored the impact of Black men in education.  As a lifelong educator I know first-hand what a Black male presence means to our children. Once you are in the school building you can’t help but fall in love with the students.  As a young teacher I did it all.  From walking home with my students at the end of the day to developing and implementing culturally relevant and sustaining curriculum in the classroom, I always took the opportunity to learn and grow with my students and families while serving them, not only as a teacher, but a community resource.   

 Too often our students are not aware of the diversity of men that exists in the black community. I would often cease the chance to invite other brothers, from my professional and social networks, into my classroom.   Regularly, I would expose my students to Black lawyers, engineers, barbers, businessmen, factory workers, artists and elders.  Our presence allows them to envision themselves in ways that we can only imagine 

Schools have always been at the heart of Black communities.   The time is now for Black men to seize this opportunity to be the life blood that flows to the heart.  When we stand up in the village, we are able to move mountains.  For our children and for our future.

The below video “In Demand” created and produced by teacher, counselor and CBMA AMEX Leadership Academy Fellow Quan Neloms, is a small but powerful piece to encourage more men to answer the call of service to our children. Shout out to Detroit CBMA AMEX Fellows Dr. James Holly Jr, and Brandon Colvin for supporting this work. We are hoping this call will light a fire across the country.  Let’s make this video go viral and remind our brothers that we are “In Demand” in education.