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Real Chat with a Positive Brother: Brandon A.Miller

Give our readers your thoughts on how prevalent Black Greek Letter Organizations are in today’s society.   Black Greek Letter Organizations are very prevalent and very much needed in today’s society. Black Greek Letter Organizations have evolved from our original founding dates and so has racism, classism, and institutional discrimination.

I am a proud member of the Beta Rho Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated and the work that we do in the city of Charlotte reminds me that our youth need us and underserved communities need us to be their advocates12931044_10100105827962728_5623909032896276487_n

Is this a true statement that our young men today have fallen to the wayside due to the lack of positive examples? I would not say that our young men are or have fallen by the wayside but they are endangered. Most people think that I’m referring to violence and that is a major issue in impoverished communities but I am more concerned with social apathy and lack of positive male engagement.

What isn’t getting mentioned enough are the amount of children being born out of wedlock in the Black community. What also isn’t being talked about enough is that the role of the father is being diminished. Our young men are endangered because music videos are raising our kids. Gangs are mentoring our kids. Accountability is being lost and trust is something of the past.

392512_10150841710991442_1999902490_nThis is why we need active organizations going back into the community to reach our young men. We can’t wait for our youth to come to us. We can’t be afraid of the communities that need us. Activism requires us to be active.

I remember seeing an article about the excessive suspensions in CMS school systems, and that really touched you it seems, explain why. This goes back to the institutional discrimination that I was telling you about. People of color are suspended at a far higher rate than whites. The larger concern is that if a young person doesn’t have the resources at home, he or she can be left behind.

Even more concerning is the lack of discussion regarding the school to prison pipeline. Prisons are being built based off of elementary standardized test scores. If kids aren’t getting an education or if our schools are determined not to educate but suspend our students, then all the student is left with is the streets and/or risky behaviors. What are risky behaviors? Sex, drugs, increased chances to be involved in criminal activity, etc..

We can’t turn a blind eye to education reform. We also need to empower our black men to become teachers. If you can see the trend, it all comes back to the black male being more involved and engaged with his community and youth.

You’re a father to two beautiful daughters….how important is it for them to see the positive way a man handles themselves? Or how a young woman should be?  I wish I could say that I was perfect… I really do. What I always want my daughters to see is that I am the definition of love. The man that dates them will have to meet expectations. In my opinion, daughters seek out men that remind them of their fathers. I want them to know that men are to hold doors, take them to nice places and do nice things for them. But I also want my girls that it isn’t all about money but when a gentleman does his best, it’s ok to accept it but it is NEVER ok to settle for it.

A common problem is that we are doing a lot of settling thinking that we are accepting. Again, with no man in the household or engaged in a young woman’s life, that’s an important lesson that is missed.

 Let me go deeper for you… some men will just focus on their daughter and if she is sexually active; What about showing and teaching her what love is? Teaching her how a man should dress and talk

Who was your biggest influence in your life, that set you on the path of social engagement and involvement Brandon?

I have a few…

  • Malcolm X: Definitely my favorite civil rights leader. He was a true prophet of the people. He saw things that we are looking at now. If we look at our political system, the ballot or the bullet wasn’t so far off. Brother Malcolm speaking on the importance of reinvesting in the black community wasn’t far off and we are dealing with the effects ignoring some of his prophecies
  • Keith Smith, Phi Beta Sigma and the Sigma Beta Club of Charlotte were instrumental in my development as an adolescent. When my father chose drugs over his family and responsibilities, it was Bro. Keith Smith, Phi Beta Sigma and the Sigma Beta Club of Charlotte that took me in and appreciated the scars that I had. I would not be blessed enough to interview with you, without their hands in my development
  • Dr. Claude W. Barnes. Dr. Barnes really opened my eyes to the revolution and encouraging me to be a revolutionary. He gave me Che to read. He gave me Marx and Garvey to read. Dr. Barnes made me appreciate why you needed both Martin and Malcolm… why we needed both Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. The little things I fell in love with; cigars and cognac and great martinis. Dr. Barnes did what a mentor should always do, make be better and put me in better spots to help others win.

 

 What words of encouragement would you give to our youth today? Embrace your scars, that’s what makes you beautiful. We don’t have to get lost in anger or embarrassment, but uplift the success of how we have overcome our adversity. We are living and walking testimonies, don’t let fear still yours.