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Alonzo Weston

Hope ya’ll got out and voted Tuesday. We may know who won now or will learn later who won, but if it’s not your choice don’t get angry and tear up progress made.

We need to continue to do our best in these troubling times and handle our business no matter who won the election. The well-being of our nation is up to us the people.

This duty was put on display last Saturday morning at Denny’s restaurant.

David Foster, a local entrepreneur, hosted a breakfast for young Black youth to break bread with the police chief, the mayor, local pastors, politicians and celebrities.

I went with my grandson, Jace, his mother and my wife. This was the second such event planned by Foster, and there was a larger turnout than the last one.

Foster’s goal was to give the youngsters an opportunity to hear from community leaders and develop good relations with law enforcement.

Too often, any time these kids are likely to see many of these folks is when they are in trouble.

“Bend the sapling while it’s young,” my grandmother used to say. And the breakfast was an attempt to bend young saplings to grow in the right direction.

Marc Anthony Robinson is a Bay Area educator who works in schools to support kids struggling to assimilate in institutions with a history of mistreating people of color, according to an article in EducationPost.org, a national network for education advocates.

Robinson said studies have shown underrepresented kids can experience symptoms similar to post traumatic stress disorder seen in combat soldiers.

Robinson said the problem is that many Black boys’ pain is often criminalized or punished rather than treated. Their overrepresentation in our country’s penal institutions is testament to that belief.

When I grew up, older men in the neighborhood looked out for us kids. Even the winos and crooks looked out for us and advised us not to take the same path in life they did.

Many of us grew up raised by single mothers and a grandmother like I did. It takes men to guide boys, contrary to what current wisdom may claim.

Women can raise men, but boys still need male role models and support. It’s the role of uncles, cousins, grandparents and neighborhood men to provide that guidance.

Part of Foster’s mission with these breakfasts is to remind us of our responsibility to mentor these youth. We’re losing too many of our Black males to the streets and prisons.

If the vote did not go your way, you can still make a difference in creating a better future.

Alonzo Weston can be reached at alonzo.weston@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.

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