BE GREAT ENOUGH SO OTHERS TRAIL YOU
Address by JAMES W. COMPTON, President of the Chicago Urban League
Delivered to the Carter Temple, Mentoring Program, Chicago, Illinois, March 20, 1999
Good morning, Mr. Glenn and all of the men and future men gathered here. I am honored to have been invited to talk to you today. While I know that you probably didn't invite any of the mainstream media to witness this event. They should be here. They should know that these types of programs exist in our communities.
Perhaps it would give them a different type of perspective, a better perspective, when they report on all of the things that are happening in African-American neighborhoods.
Somehow they often seem to miss the good and positive things. We need and deserve, not only a better balance in terms of what kinds of stories are done on our communities, but also more objectivity in the stories that are done.
One thing that concerns me is that there are not enough of these kinds of mentoring programs to fill the need. I see too many of our children out in the street at all hours seemingly without direction, and usually without any type of adult supervision. That is one of the best ways to get into trouble, and of course, they often do. And that's what we end up seeing on the 10 o'clock news.
I am pleased to see that many of the young men present are of elementary school age. At the Chicago Urban League we believe that intervention is most effective when the person is younger. If you wait too long, high school age and beyond, it is often too late to positively impact that young person.
As eiders, we must come to grips with the fact that we face stiff competition in trying to gain the attention of our young men. There's television, radio, friends . . . and, in due time their heads will eventually be turned by the fair sex. …