When I think of executive directors of nonprofit organizations I think of my local heroes like Geoffrey Canada, founder of Harlem Children’s Zone and Richard Buery founder of Groundwork and current President and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society. I don’t quite think of me. Those two black men are the epitome of leadership, integrity, brilliance, confidence, and perseverance and owners of a little thing known these days as swagger. If I have half the success of either of them I will be ecstatic because that means that I will have helped people and touched lives. I will have done my part.
Black Dad Connection is not solely a black dad organization. It was named that to bring to light the reality that black men are statistically more at risk of being an unsuccessful parent in the United States than anyone other group. We are also consciously aware of the fact that black men are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with a disease like prostate cancer, and die from heart disease. You can’t get on the road to parental success if you are dead from something preventable or treatable in its early stages. We’ve struggled for years to find out footing as a fathers for a variety of reasons that I am sure will come up on this blog as I continue to build this unique (if I do say so myself!) organization. But at the same time many of us have taken on the fatherhood role head on and have become better fathers than our own, and our sons will be better and healthier fathers than us. That prospect alone motivates me and makes me smile.
This is BDC’s inaugural year so I am sure that there will be growing pains and changes made on the fly, and absolutely giant mistakes made. But you can only make mistakes if you are doing something, which is why I don’t mind messing up a little. You can only make mistakes running a nonprofit, or living life for that matter, when you are actively making decisions, planning, growing, and participating in the process. Sound familiar? It’s a lot like being a dad in that sense – if you aren’t making mistakes, you probably aren’t doing it right! The key, however, is to never make the same mistake twice, always take notes, learn, then shake it off and move on.
Much more to come…