In recognition of Father’s Day we wanted to highlight not only the wonderful things parents do for their families and communities but also acknowledge the fierceness with which they demand social change. Here we highlight a group of people who are not only nurturing and loving parents, but also fight fiercely for the future of their children. We spoke with members of the Indianapolis-based Urban Initiative High-5 Rally, a movement that provides positive male role models and male-run high-five rallies to encourage school success for urban students across the city.
Urban Initiative High-5 Rallies
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”-Martin Luther King Jr.
As a response to the youth violence rate in Indianapolis, men are standing up and fighting…with love. The Urban Initiative Positive Influence School Rallies are a way for men around the city to show their support to youths in our public school system. Bwana Clements, a leader with Urban Initiative, says the rallies “were just a response to the violence.”
Every couple of weeks, in the early hours of the morning, organizers band together a group of 100+ men to line the entrance to the chosen Indianapolis Public School to greet students as they arrive at school. The men form two lines while the students travel through a gauntlet of high-fives and cheers of encouragement. The high fives are followed by a school-wide assembly where the men talk with the students. The purpose of this, Bwana says, is to show the students “You are not invisible. We see you. You’re worth it.”
We know the children are empowered and moved by the experience but equally so are the men who participate:
“Talk about rewarding! The men of Indianapolis are taking action to reclaim our streets and it starts in our schools! Bullying is the precursor to a road that leads straight to the penal system! This blessed me as much as I hope it blesses the kids.”-Gordon Fykes, High-5 Rally Participant
Look out for upcoming rallies on Facebook!