When I received the call from Colyna Winbush and was told I was to be honored at the 1st Annual Hurting Men be Healed breakfast for being the Editor of the Pasadena Black Pages and working in the community, I was receptive yet humbled, because I don't do what I do for recognition. I'm not a "Look at what I do or did" person but I became excited to be able to speak to a room full of Black men.
Before the pandemic, Colyna, Jada Brown, and Lakhysa Greene had a Hurting Women be Healed that was very successful, so it was only right to add a men's event as well. The ladies did a great job with the invites and coordination of the event. The women's event was held an hour after the men's and it was a success as well.
To be in a room of diverse men was a blessing. It was a revalidation for me that Black men overcome anything less than death. There were men in the room who spent decades in prison for murders and there were retired police officers in the room. There were businessmen, pastors, teachers, and students in the room.
Brandon Lamar was the host and there were several male vendors with their products.
As I looked across the room I saw a reflection of the purpose the Pasadena Black Pages came into existence. Several of the men in attendance have been featured in PBP for either their businesses or their work in the community. Even though I was being honored I was the most honored when I saw Qaadir Muhammed speak. He's like a little brother to me and to see the man he has blossomed into made me proud. Years back he told me he wanted to write a column and a book, but he wasn't a great writer. I told him to do the best he could and I'd take it from there. He has written over 50 columns for PBP, he has written a book and he has a wonderful program going on in Arizona for kids in his new community. He took his family away from Pasadena a few years back because he didn't want him nor his sons to face any of the challenges young men have to dodge in Pasadena sometimes.
Qaadir spoke eloquently about health and wellness. He had been on a 19 day fast to mentally prepare for the event. He knew it was going to be powerful.
Damon Blount gave an inspirational speech about God, faith, and family.
Powerful is an understatement. I heard testimony and I saw emotion from men who had been hurt. Collectively in the room, men had done over 100 years in prison, and every single man who had gone to prison either had a business or they work a community trying to educate against criminal behavior.
Comedian Stacey Taylor entertained the fellas and gave a testimony at the same time. Stacey did 27 years in prison and was released in 2017. Since that time he has been on his grind as a comedian and has traveled the world.
Being focused and persistent will take you far in life no matter what obstacles you have to endure. Men talked about the hurt they had caused and how they want to heal, be healed, and help others who are hurt. Black men need support systems and what occurred Saturday morning was the beginning of a support system for Black men.