Black Fathers: Lessons Learned from Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin and his dad
Trayvon Martin and his dad

Black youth both young men and women are being killed at a record number in America, their lives seemingly have no value. Just another statistic for vital statistics and crime reports and another one or two minute sound bite for news media.
Young men like Trayvon Martin (Sanford, Florida), Ervin Jefferson (Atlanta, Ga.), 20-year-old Kendrec Lavelle McDade (Azus), 18 year-old Ramarley Graham (New York City) taken away by violent deaths. Violence, claiming the lives of those who should have promising futures ahead of them, young men and women have fallen at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve the community, but instead have caused chaos, sorrow and pain.

Black fathers, grandfathers, uncles and stepfathers are hard pressed to teach young Black men and a growing number of Black women survival skills to keep them from being targets and victims of state agents.
President Barack Obama has challenged more Black fathers to step up and take on the responsibility to teach their children. Even though he is the President he has experienced disrespect, curses and hatred is shown to him because of his color. Racism is not dead…

President Obama has even made the statement that Trayvon Martin could be his son. What a testament for a plea for change.
The excuse that Black youth are trouble makers because they have no fathers does not count in the case of Trayvon Martin because there is an involved father. The excuse that Black children are all in poverty is not true from the lifestyle of the Martin family. They are not welfare recipients, nor on food stamps, but some in society automatically think they are, this mentality must change.

In the United States of America Black young men time lines are slowly diminishing; devaluing to a point of unimportance. Across this country more young Black men and young Black women are being gunned down. Fathers, the teaching to our sons and now daughters should go beyond riding a bike, attending church, dating, drugs and sex. Fathers have to teach their children lessons of life, the lessons of survival, how to stay alive when there are those who do not value them as they should. Fathers, the responsibility to speak to children is more important now more than ever.

Personal Fears

True fathers have fear for our sons and now for our daughters. Attending the Daddy Daughter Dance 2012 I see loving and involved fathers. This needs to grow and be consistent.

The dance shows that fathers are involved and there are more Black fathers involved than society would have you believe. Fathers fear that their children may die before they do either at the hands of an overzealous service revolver or the hands of someone who does not look like them. Our young men and women should be searching for a cure to cancer, diabetes, heart defects, fighting poverty, working to end hunger and other social challenges.

Fathers now must teach sons and daughters to look over their shoulder, how to talk to law enforcement officers, to be mindful that some see them as less than a man or women. Be careful who you hang with and who you associate or call friends. Black youth should be concentrating on graduating high school and planning their futures, not having parents planning funerals.

There is Evidence

The evidence is visible in the media and seen on our streets. Young Black men and women’s lives are at risk, when men do not take the time to teach their children how to conduct themselves in public, pull up their pants, talk respectfully to adults, respect authority and act with intelligence and pride, they set their children up for failure.

When Black children are successful in school, in their churches, earning honours for academic excellence and achievement they are not acting white, or the other demeaning terms used for being respectful, educated and career oriented.
Young men and women that act like thugs and gansta’s will be treated as such and subjected to actions that may prove deadly, but this mentality is transferred to all young Black men and women. Young men must be willing to change their mentalities and actions. Not to change who they are, but to change the perceptions of society.

Teachers can’t teach social responsibility and accountability, the government can’t teach it, the media can’t teach it, but fathers and mothers can and must teach the value of education.
If a greater number of families are involved in their children’s lives crime would be down, education would be a priority and more Black youth, our young men and women would have more direction and purpose.


The reality is there is a lack of fatherly presence in Black homes; it affects communities, schools and churches. It is past time for more fathers to stand up and make a commitment to their communities. Fathers must remember that there are several institutions that want Black children Educational and Institutional, it is up to parents to direct their children to the correct institution. Statistics and data do not lie, they can be manipulated, but fact are facts. It is up to parents to direct children to educational institutions, vocational schools, career choices, valuable career options. Steering youth away from the institutions of incarceration and death. Parents must know their children’s friends and associates, because they sometimes do not have your child’s best interests. Trayvon Martin is a wake up call for all of us to the travesty of Black youth being murdered. The Trayvon Martin story is not the first, but parents must work hard to make it the last.


By: William D. Jackson