The BeMore Campaign knows that Black M.E.N. C.A.N be the solution. BeMore has become the front runners in increasing healthy, nonviolent relationships, decreasing teen dating violence, and engaging men and young men to end violence against women and girls inside of homes and in communities around the world.
The pledge goes hand in hand with three principles of change adopted by BeMore that entail skills development, leadership development and community solutions. This internationally known campaign was developed by Sam Simmons, SAFE families manager at Family Partnership, as a culturally competent model to facilitate African American men speaking with African American young men.
Simmons also noted that “The pledge is meant to put a positive public face on men dealing with domestic violence and help them consciously engage in the solution, consciously think about it.” The pledge is memorized by every employee and all members within the BeMore Campaign. The purpose is to consistently remind each staff member and every person involved with BeMore to display those qualities that show M.E.N. C.A.N.
By saying the pledge every day, you can feel and see the change in our members, their homes, and their communities. This pledge drives BeMore to not stop this campaign until every Black man has the knowledge of these six values and it is being passed down from generation to generation. So come to our office and pick up a form or go to our website and print off our form and make the pledge and show everyone in the world that Black M.E.N. C.A.N. be the solution.
The second value in the pledge is: “I pledge to Engage other Black men and boys to develop violence-free lives.” In this article we will focus on Engagement.
To have healthy relationships men have to be open to engage in positive and healthy conversation with other men on tackling difficult issues like domestic violence. Whether the conversation is with fathers, uncles, friends or coworkers, men have to take responsibility for engaging in those conversations. And men need to understand that being able to admit to mistakes and able to show your vulnerability while doing so shows strength, not weakness.
BeMore understands that ending domestic violence is not only a national issue but a global issue as well. In the last several years there have been countless strategies to engage men and boys in preventing violence against women and girls.
These strategies have been implemented across multiple levels of authority from the World Health Organization and the United Nations down to grassroots organizations. Since 2005, the Purple Purse program funded by The Allstate Foundation has donated over $50 million to engage males in healthy conversation about domestic violence. They have helped more than 800,000 victims break free from abusive relationships through a financial curriculum designed for domestic violence survivors.
There are programs today similar to BeMore, such as MEND and Says No More. These organizations educate boys and men about healthy masculinity and gender violence. MEND engages mostly with high school sports coaches, clergy and business leaders in healthy conversations about domestic violence.
These community leaders take the valuable information they learn in MEND programs back to their communities and continue the engagement and conversation with student athletes, congregations and employees, thereby expanding the conversation on how to have healthy relationships.
Says No More is a group of men that work closely with women to address gender-based violence in Southwest Pennsylvania. Part of their work is to engage and train men and boys about new ways to engage in conversation about their masculinity, society’s rigid gender roles, and how we raise boys and girls.
As experts continuously implement more practices such as those mentioned above to engage men and boys, high quality and innovative engagement strategies will reduce the incidence of domestic violence.
To prevent domestic violence, experts say individuals have to start understanding that people are significantly influenced by messages received from their general surroundings — social conditions and powers shape our relationships and norms. Outside influences play a significant part in desensitizing individuals to domestic violence and creating a culture where brutality is “typical” and a suitable reaction to various circumstances.
Experts recognize these messages are being given to our younger generation at a high rate. By changing these messages to make it a norm for domestic violence to not be tolerated, a lot of domestic violence cases can be prevented before they even begin.
BeMore understands how important it is to engage young Black males in healthy conversations to develop violence-free lives. Thank you for reading this article, and stay on the lookout for our next article on the importance of Nurturing Black men from a young age to create communities free of gender violence.
For more information about the Pledge Campaign or BeMore, please contact Willie Roller III, BeMore Mentor Project Coordinator, at 612-728 2056 or WRoller@thefamilypartnership.org.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-CY-AX-K023 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.