On Saturday, April 1 Gerry Clubhouse hosted the second Black Boy Rise, an anti-violence event, at BCNY. Self-identifying young men of color and mentors gathered at the Boys’ Club for a day devoted to exploring their identities, masculinity, and the effect of violence in East Harlem. After a morning of workshops the young men and “Big Bro” mentors marched in East Harlem chanting “Black Boy Rise” and “I AM Community” as they visited the origin sites of four young men and their stories of murder, suicide, desperation and growth. One of these men, Michael Parker, is a staff member at BCNY as well as the Dean of Students at Youth Build. After the march Michael lead a discussion with the family and friends of the deceased that was opened to other participants who wanted to share their stories and experiences. The event concluded with a wristband exchange between mentors and mentees and a basketball tournament, in conjunction with Saturday Night Lights, a program sponsored by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
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Black Boy Rise Stories
AUBREY “BIG AUB” LYNCH
Aubrey’s story was shared on the basketball Courts inside Franklin Plaza Apartments between 106th and 107th street and Third Avenue by his brother, Raymond Lynch.
His Story: Aubrey was a playground basketball legend in East Harlem who played his way through high school and earned a basketball scholarship to a Division 1 School. While standing in front of his building Aubrey was approached by another man who shot him in the head in front of his brothers and friends. The basketball court where Aubrey’s brother shared his story is just a few steps from where he was murdered.
GLENN J. “SPOOF” WRIGHT
Glenn’s story was shared by his best friend Richard Palacios on the corner of 105th Street and Second Avenue.
His Story: Glenn was murdered at the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side in a case of mistaken identity and gang violence while washing his grandmother’s windows. Read more about Glenn’s story as reported by the Observer.
BRIAN “GIANT” WILSON
Brian’s story was shared by his mother, Sharona Gails, in front of El Faro Beacon Center.
His Story: Giant was a community basketball star who spent his time giving back to his community by mentoring youth in his neighborhood. Brian battled with depression and died in January of this year.
Cause of death: Suicide.
Michael shared his story in front of Youth Action Youth Build.
His Story: Michael is a long time resident of East Harlem who grew up in the Wagner projects. Michael battled many obstacles from his father being imprisoned to his mother battling drug addiction. After hearing his mother was HIV Positive, Michael dropped out of prep school to care for her, completely dropping out of high school to try to make ends meet for his family. Michael at times felt that he had no hopes of having a successful future but through Youth Action Youth Build he earned his High School Equivalency Diploma and found his calling in helping youth find success. Today he is the Dean of Students at Youth Build and a BCNY Staff Member.
Black Boy Rise March