#OURVOICES: Mario Black- Million Youth March

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Mario Black, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, realized his life’s passion at an early age. As a child growing up in the historic Earle Village community, currently known as First Ward, he learned that whatever life presented he would one day overcome life’s challenges. He is a graduate of West Charlotte Senior High School and in May 2016, he earned a dual degree in General Education K-8 and Special Education K-12 from Grand Canyon University. He has chosen to continue to his studies with GCU and is currently enrolled in the graduate program for Secondary Education.

Mr Black has worked in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in a variety of roles, such as: Teacher Assistant, EC Assistant, Behavioral Modification Technician, Behavioral Support within the EC department and Technology Facilitator.  He now proudly serves as a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Bruns Academy. His passion for today’s youth expands outside of his classroom each day. An example of this came in 2013 when he founded Million Youth March Of Charlotte, after the tragic deaths of Davion Funderburk and Inna Gonzalez who were killed in a shooting in broad daylight. 

The sole Mission for Million Youth March Of Charlotte was formed as a platform to encourage unity in the city of Charlotte and promote non-violence among our youth ages 13-25. The organization is all inclusive of ethnic and religious backgrounds that can agree to the common goal of Taking A Stand, Joining Hands and Uniting as One to end the senseless violence that continues to plague our communities.

His response: As a Charlotte native, I’ve seen a lot of changes from my childhood to now. Policing is different and not necessarily in a good way. No not every officer that is a part of the police force is a bad cop but those that are, are the ones that gives that negative perception that the community has formed. You hardly see officers in the community they serve getting to know those within the communities. This is something that I long to see again. As a child growing up in the projects in downtown Charlotte “EARLE VILLAGE” I can remember officers in the community getting to know us. They knew us by name and we knew them by name. This has led to] our current state of affairs and It’s disheartening knowing that our young black males coming up today do not stand a chance. As a parent, first and foremost, I can’t imagine receiving that call that my son has been a victim of police brutality or my kids receiving the news that I, their dad, has. As a community, we must get back to the basics of educating our children coming up today as to what to do and what not to do if they encounter a situation with law enforcement. By doing so we could be potentially saving lives. On the flip side of that law enforcement need stronger trainings put into place as well that will in return hold improve race relations and bridging the gap between generations I plan on having these conversations with our teens of Million Youth March Of Charlotte Teen Advisory Board which will be able to take the tools they have learned with us into their schools and classrooms.

The question was asked how do I see myself as a modern-day activist. The funny part about that is, I don’t. It’s my passion, it’s my calling and I love impacting the lives of our children in hopes that it will impact our community for the betterment so that we will see that CHANGE within our communities, within this generation and within ourselves.

Email: mymocnc@yahoo.com