The ice sculpture on display at Heinz Field July 30 boldly displayed the message “not on our watch.”

Hundreds were gathered for the launch of the Pittsburgh Cares Circle. The guest of honor was Susan L. Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine.

Taylor arrived in a beautiful cloud of coral flanked by bodyguards dressed in black suits and matching coral shirts. It was a definite fashion statement and a grand entrance even though her mission was not fashion or Essence Magazine.

In 2006, Taylor established National Cares Mentoring Movement. NCMM is a call to action to every able-bodied and caring adult to help end the crisis in our community by mentoring our young people who are at risk.

Susan Taylor said, “Hurt people and middle class people are not feeling felons. It’s time for us to do the job, it’s the midnight hour and we don’t have a lot of time.”

Taylor added, “Gov. Ed Rendell has said he is going to create an equitable education society. We have to hold him accountable.”

Special guest speaker, Tommy Dortch Jr., chairman emeritus of 100 Black Men, said, “We have to build trust with our people, they think we have forgotten about them. People are dying to be a part of something. We don’t have a choice or an option. If the young people that are dying were White this would be a state of emergency.”

Rustin Lewis, Ph.D., president of NCMM, said kids are waiting for mentors. Find one hour a week to make a difference in the life of one Black boy or girl.

This party with a purpose was hosted by Angi Corley and featured musical selections by SOL and Denyse Johnson. The positive influence in the room over flowed with representatives from Madd Dads, members of 100 Black Men and the creators of the Shyne Awards. It was all about the youth, giving something back and writing new history.

Linda Banks is the founder of the first chapter of the National Cares Mentoring Movement in Pittsburgh. Banks is the owner of the Banks Learning Center, promoting, nurturing and encouraging positive educational and social growth.

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