If you walked the path that many young, black boys have walked, where would you be?

Many young black men walk in the dark streets of Southside Chicago, afraid, fatherless and without a role model to follow. A great sum of them are consumed in street violence and substance abuse. They do not dare dream of a different life, a more peaceful one, full of joy—they do not have the capacity to imagine such a life because they are surrounded by death.

By: Ana Barajas

Photograph by: Ana Barajas

Not far from these young men, however, some not only dream it, but seek opportunities to get out of the ghetto. They probably pray day and night for a miracle, and they believe one day, it will happen—freedom from such chained life styles.

So, who do we extend our hand to? The walking dead or the ones who hope?

Do we help the boys with big dreams so big it’s unbelievable? Do we help the young man with the struggling mother who yearns for further education? Or do we dare extend our hands deeper in the gutter to help the boy in an alley somewhere over drugged? Or the young black man whose identity is found in a gang and street violence has consumed him?

HIEROES ORGANIZATION dares extend its hand to both African-American boys with such different outlooks of life, but who live in the same neighborhoods and with the same struggles. Most people would be afraid, and others may think it’s a waste of time to help the helpless. A majority who understand the basic needs of the low income population will argue that placing high expectations on young men with behavioral issues or who have been involved in violence, is not quite good timing because their basic needs must first be met and we have not yet done this.

Here at H.O., we understands that placing high expectations on this particular population is past over due. We, at H.O., understand what their basic needs are, but, we also know that if someone doesn’t step up and provides deeper faith, the African American young men will remain the same for generations to come. This is why at H.O. we not only believe, but know that teaching the skill of critical thinking to young black males can open their minds to new possibilities. We know it is time to surpass working at the level of “the basic needs,” and expand to higher, richer, expectations. Maybe, after they have comprehended many issues, they will be able to meet their basic needs and our society will have moved onto greater expectations.

By: Ana Barajas

Photograph by: Ana Barajas

Hieroes Organization extends the same opportunities and lays the same expectations and foundations to both groups of African American boys. Our team knows and understands that the first step in opening doors for both groups is obtaining their trust. Once trust is established thereafter, the young men (with behavioral issues or not) allow those they trust near them and allow advice for further interactions. One of their most basic needs is TRUST (something we often overlook) and it targets the heart, ultimately, the mind. This will help with broadening their intellectual capacity through the skill of critical thinking. Thus developing more prepared men, capable of so much more than what society has placed faith upon.

The world is rich in culture, history, religion, and art—much material to work with that is prepared and presented to the young men as means to develop their critical thinking. Imagine them asking questions such as: “Did the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle start the ending of slavey in Britain in the 1800’s?” Or ultimately, to question such things as, “Why is life given to the lost and to those who wonder aimlessly?” AND guide them to admire that if you can teach a gang member to critically think, then you have done something powerful.

Nevertheless, when you hear about Hieores Organization be inspired to share with others about our goals. When you read about Hieroes Organization, kindly and eagerly spread the word, it may impact someone, and when you encounter a young black man without hope OR with a spark of hope point them towards HIEROES ORGANIZATION.

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