There’s no monetary gain, or political affiliation with the men of “We Make Us Better” the only agenda they have is simply to do what’s right. In response to a string of muggings and robberies, once a week these homegrown Bed-Stuy men walk pedestrians home from the Utica Avenue train station. The idea for the group came after 41 year old Richard Beavers received a call in the middle of the night from a friend who had been robbed.
“She was on her way home, came out of the Utica Ave. A train station and made it onto her block when a group of young males approached her and robbed her,” recalled Beavers to The New York Daily News. I decided we can’t have these people terrorizing our young women and children, and we’re not speaking up and making our presence felt.”
Beavers then enlisted the help of co-founder Thomas Simms and 35-year-old Kareem Varlack. They took on the name “We Make Us Better” in hopes to impart wisdom to other young black men in the neighborhood.
“We’re about encouraging males to be involved, because you don’t see men in their 20s, 30s and 40s involved in the community anymore, so we’re trying to bridge that gap.”
The men hope to establish a mentoring program in the future, and are meeting with other local community organizers to refer people they meet to services they may need. Titus Mitchell says despite the actions of some wayward teens, he understands they lack positive black male role models and hopes We Make Us Better can change the trajectory of their future.
“When I see these kids, I don’t judge them, I understand who they are and what they are, and as black men, we can just talk to them on their level.”
Well done, gentlemen. Well done.