November 14, 2011

Rally, service effort designed to change perception

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Southern Illinois University Carbondale rally and community service effort seeks to recapture a positive image of young African American men.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee:  Rumble Young Man Rumble -- Recapture Your Good Name!”  is set for Saturday, Nov. 19, beginning with a short rally at noon on the steps of Shryock Auditorium.  Then, the group will move to Attucks Park where participants will spend a couple of hours cleaning the park and sprucing things up. 

The uplifting event will serve dual purposes, according to organizers Alfred Jackson, education and outreach coordinator for University Housing, and Derrick Williams, violence prevention coordinator for the Wellness Center.  It will provide a community service to improve the park and also show the University, the neighborhood and the community that there are good role models, young black men who are a positive influence.

Jackson said that in discussion with campus focus groups, it seemed that even in talking with young black people, there appeared to be an overall negative perception of young African American men and he wanted those from the Carbondale area to join with national movements in showing there are accomplished black men. 

“We want to show a unified effort, a collaboration of black males from throughout the campus, the neighborhood and the community to recapture and restore a positive image to black men,” Jackson said. 

He said that in part, what is happening across the country is that as young black men complete their college education, they are moving on to careers elsewhere and are not returning to their former neighborhoods.  Thus, there aren’t visible positive role models for children there.  In cities and communities across the country, a movement is ongoing to change that.  Through Rumble Young Man Rumble black male achievement summits and other efforts, organizers are trying to bring about a change in perception. 

Likewise, Jackson said the SIU Carbondale event welcomes African American men from the campus, the neighborhood and the community at large to band together, organize and act to become positive influences on those around them.

Jackson noted pre-registration isn’t necessary, adding, “Just come to the rally and the park on Nov. 19 and be prepared to clean up and demonstrate that we are a positive force.”

Event sponsors include University Housing, Student Life and Intercultural Relations, Student Health Services and the Office of Institutional Diversity, along with numerous University student organizations, community businesses and organizations and graduate Greek fraternities.  For more information, contact Jackson at 303-4110 or, or Williams at 303-2824 or