CINCINNATI — Politics. Health. The economy. Education. An end to violence.
No topic is off-limits at the Black Males Mancave, and difficult questions are encouraged.
And with 43 homicides in Cincinnati so far this year, this group and others hope their conversations and mentorship can help stop the violence.
Twenty-six-year-old Devone Sherman created First Generation Leaders of America and the Black Males Mancave event as a safe space for men young and old to speak on issues affecting the black community.
“For me, I believe that males are the foundation. I feel like it starts with us,” he said. “It starts with black males standing up for ourselves, standing up for women and just believe that have been marginalized. I feel like if we can come together collectively where we can have our own space.”
Sherman and Carlton Collins, the interim executive director of Lincoln Heights Outreach, said they see another shooting on the news almost daily. They’re saying enough is enough.
“It’s happening far too often, and right now just us as a black community in Cincinnati we have an obligation to step up and do a lot more,” Collins said.
Collins said that the futures of local communities are "diametrically intertwined."
“Cincinnati as a whole is not going to prosper until we can make sure that as many people as humanly possible are prospering in all of our communities,” he said.
Both men have seen the effect of violence firsthand, making their push for conversations about a solution all the more urgent.
“It just became a heartache for me personally and I was like what can I do and what resources do I have,” Sherman said.
“You don’t ever become numb to it, but since I’ve had to attend the funeral of a third grader, I can’t really do funerals,” Collins said.
This Saturday morning, the men invite the community to meet at First Generation Leaders to discuss education. Sherman said crucial information needs to be shared on the topic so more people can understand a solution.
“Nobody knows about (education) choice. Nobody knows how to get into private. Nobody knows how to get into the great public schools that are out there. It’s just a lot of misleading information that is out there,” Sherman said.
Sherman believes group meetings like the Black Male Mancave can have a positive effect by providing mentors to young men who can guide them on a better path.
“A lot of people saying, yeah, there’s a lot of mental health issues and different killings and shootings because people don’t have access to different resources. They don’t have a mentor, someone that can guide them in the right direction, and this is why I created that,” he said.
To register for the event, visit firstgenleaders.org. The event starts at 11 a.m. at 8075 Reading Rd, Suite 206.