Game Changers – Open letter from Artis Stevens

Download the letter here.

Dear Black Men,

As we journey through life, we are humbled by the memories of the men who molded us into the men we are today. Our fathers, uncles, coaches, and spiritual leaders whose influence was instrumental in our transition from boys into men. Their teachings remain with us, guiding us in every aspect of our lives. They instilled in us the audacity to dream big in our careers and the self-worth necessary to be generous in our personal lives and communities.

This invaluable gift we received from these men is one we have always been compelled to share, by becoming mentors ourselves. The young ones we guide have become more than just mentees; they are family. Their experiences have enriched our lives as much as we hope our guidance has influenced theirs.

Now, more than ever, mentorship holds a profound significance. The challenges our youth face are unparalleled. We are witnessing a 40% surge in young people grappling with mental health issues such as depression and feelings of isolation. In addition, there are 30,000 kids on the Big Brothers Big Sisters waitlist for a mentor, and many are Black boys. These are young people nationwide who are eagerly awaiting a compassionate and dedicated adult to support them as they navigate life and unlock their full potential.

We reach out to you because we know you care. And we see the answer within you.

Imagine the ripple effect if we could inspire the potential in kids like us, just as our mentors did, helping them to recognize their worth. Consider how this shift could revolutionize not only their local communities but boardrooms, science labs, arts, public services, and beyond. Picture the healthier, better-connected country we could forge when we harness the inspiring stories, influence, and actions of thousands of more Black men as mentors. Now imagine if that number was 100,000. Or even 1 million. Contemplate the innovation, representation, and growth that would follow, fostering a more inclusive society and economy, shaped by the next generation of Black leaders.

As Howard Thurman, mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wisely noted, “Community cannot feed long on itself. It can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.”

We see the powerful impact you have in your communities and urge you to stand with us. Individually, we can leave an imprint. But together, we can create a legacy. United, we can shift the narrative for the boys and young men who mirror our past selves and embody our collective future.

Artis Stevens,
President & CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Game Changers:

Kelvin Buncum,
Executive Vice President, Neighborhood Markets, Walmart U.S.

Aloe Blacc,
Singer, Songwriter, Philanthropist

Sway Calloway,
Sway in the Morning with Heather B & Tracy G

Tony Coles,
President, Black Information Network, iHeartMedia, BBBSA National Board Member

Motivational Speaker,
Co-Host of Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell

Rachaad White,
Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, former BBBS “Little”

Terrance Williams,
President and CEO, TruStage

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