I was asked to write about how it feels to be in a leadership role and to be able to assist my fellow peers in Columbus. I can say it feels surreal; I have to step up and speak out for the young men that may not feel as if they have a voice. Working in prevention has made me realize the lack of support we as young black gay men feel we have. I want to be able to break those barriers and give back to my brothers that are fighting their way to become PROUD gay individuals.
My childhood may not have been the best, but one thing I can speak on for sure is the strength my mother and grandfather gave me growing up. I was always taught to speak my mind no matter who it may affect. Growing up, it may have gotten me in trouble. However, as a 26 year old man living in a community where most people are outspoken, it serves as a trait of confidence and skill that I can use to advocate for others.
As the Mpowerment Coordinator for GCMC, I can aid the next generation of men of color to empower them to love themselves and be proud of who they’ve become. This position gives me a lot of responsibility to mentor young men who may not have families or friends that support them. I can say with confidence I take my position seriously and to heart because of the past I had coming out and the trials I went through as a young man.
I am doing something to push our fight to the next level, but I can’t do it alone. I need everyone to look themselves in the mirror and ask “am I doing enough?” or “can I do more?” We all have a part to play.
You never know where you may end up in life. You can do anything you put your mind to. Believe in yourself and step outside of life’s box. Never let anyone tell you that you’re not capable of achieving your dreams. Stand up, speak out and live your life for you and your younger brothers!