In a rallying call to all those who would stand up for our vulnerable young, Georgetown professor and author or editor of some 18 books, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson led an hour-long teleconference on March 31, in which he urged Black men and women to challenge “a culture where our children are taught their lives don’t mean much.” Several hundred mentors participating on the call were rapt Dr. Dyson noted that he himself is a product of caring adults in his community who pushed him and saw his worth. “If it wasn’t for mentors I wouldn’t be here,” he shared.

The discussion, “The Big Business of Black People,” was the first offering in special eight-part series on mentoring launched by the National Cares Mentoring Movement  in partnership with the National Alliance of Faith and Justice’s PEN or PENCIL (penitentiary or education) program. "Mentoring Mondays" are designed to ensure mentors’ well-being as they support children struggling in the margins. Every Monday through the end of May, National CARES will host life-affirming calls at 7:00pm, Eastern, with some of the nation’s most brilliant and inspiring leaders.  You can listen to the call with Michael Eric Dyson in its entirety, here.

Emphasizing that “the ministry of encouragement can never be underestimated in our communities,” Dyson said that adults could trigger lasting changes in the lives of young people by giving just an hour a two of their time each week. “Often the mechanisms that change young people’s lives don’t demand exorbitant amounts of time,” he said. “If you tithe your time to something as important as the life of a child, that makes a huge difference.”

Dyson also urged listeners to consider how stigma prevents many in our communities from accessing the mental and emotional supports they need. Noting that National CARES founder Susan L. Taylor subscribes to the theory that “hurt people hurt people,” Dyson said “that healed people heal people. What we have to figure out is how we begin to heal ourselves.”

National CARES will host its next Mentoring Mondays speaker, spiritual teacher and wise woman, Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant, host of OWN’s Iyanla, Fix My Life on April 7 at 7 pm Eastern, when she will be discussing the healing power of forgiveness, the subject of her new book. To RSVP for the call, click here.