On Black History Night, the Trail Blazers, in conjunction with Word is Bond, released a powerful video entitled "A Letter To The Black Boys"
If I ruled the world
If you knew your power, you wouldn’t wince.
When people got you dismissed
Because you smile, black boy joy keeps the wave afloat. And also your du-rag
A letter to the black boys, that I can’t promise tomorrow
Tamir Rice wasn’t given that same luxury, Trayvon didn’t reach adulthood
A letter to black boys, to live life to the fullest
Because even as a Black boy, you are posed as a threat
It got me wondering— Am I next?
A letter to that Black boy— that I was once you
Thee Black boy from the Ville and the Black boy from the Congo. The Black boy who is bilingual. And the Black boy who knows everything but English
The Black boy with the fits… and the Black boy with the hits— this poem is for you
Go shine, Black boy
You got a story to tell
The poem, which was recited by Word is Bond community ambassadors as well as members of the Trail Blazers, was written by WiB community ambassador M’Munga Songolo.
Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Gary Trent, Jr., Robert Covington, Nassir Little and Harry Giles all appeared in the video.
Word is Bond is a nonprofit based out of Portland, OR with a mission to rewrite the narrative between young Black men and law enforcement through leadership development, critical dialogue, and education.
They are also carrying out an initiative entitled #IGotAStoryToTellPDX.
“The I Got A Story to Tell” storytelling campaign is about celebrating the living legacies of young Black men.
"We are very much alive, striving to be somebody, and we each have a story to tell. Young Black men seldom have an opportunity to tell their story as they see it,” Lakayana Drury, Founder, and Executive Director said in a press release. "Word is Bond is not an organization that tries to get young Black men to like police officers or change their minds on how they feel about law enforcement. We do not try to manage the stories our young men tell. We empower young Black men to speak their truths."
The “I Got a Story to Tell” exhibition will also include Word is Bond community ambassadors giving teach-ins to participating law enforcement agencies detailing the experiences of young Black men, anti-racism, and how law enforcement agencies can better engage and serve Black youth.
Word is Bond serves young Black men ages 16-21 in the Portland metro area
Ristom Habtemariem, a freshman at the University of Oregon and featured in "A Letter To The Black Boys," is among the stories shared in #IGotAStoryToTellPDX
For more information on Word is Bond, check out their website.