Rolling out spoke exclusively to philanthropist, author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur Dr. Jamal Bryant, the pastor and founder of Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore, at the African American Festival in Baltimore on Sunday, July 3. Below is an excerpt from the conversation, as well as video of the interview. Ironic that we had this conversation prior to another law enforcement killing taking place two days later with the execution of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
How can the African American community stop the senseless killings?
I think that we’ve got to learn how to value our own lives and know what our own worth is to the community. The reality is that a whole lot of people don’t believe Black lives matter because we don’t act like it does. If we would find that same level of rage when we kill each other as we do when an officer kills us, then maybe America will take us seriously. So we have got to learn how to value our own lives.
How do we put an end to this vicious cycle?
I think the No. 1 killer of Black America is not drugs, it’s not gang initiations, it’s not gun violence, it’s self-esteem. If we learn how to love ourselves we would turn our communities upside down. The beauty of the Black Panther Party was understanding that they weren’t looking for outside people to do it. They weren’t writing for grants or for nonprofits agencies but learning how to feed our own children, protect our own seniors and educate our community, and to police ourselves. I think when we get to that place, we will be unstoppable.
What are the first steps members of our communities need to take?
The first step to do would be to be the governor of your own house. You don’t need to change your community, change your house. Are you doing homework with your own kids? There’s a new thing out that I want to introduce to Bqlack people, it’s called PTA. If you go to that, if you make sure your own neighborhood is clean, make sure that you are living as a role model in your language and in your lifestyle, it’ll change everything. One block at a time will change Black America forever.
Click continue to view the video.