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Hundreds of black men, adorned in blazing orange or lime green shirts, converged on uptown to encourage black youth to behave appropriately Monday. The two groups patrolled the streets along scores of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police on July 4th in the block surrounding the Square and the transit center. Church Men For Change, spearheaded by University City Church Pastor Michael Stevens, included men from at least a half-dozen churches. Men Who Care Global, led by Colin Pinkney, included men from churches, fraternities, civic organizations and others who weren’t affiliated with any organizations, but were simply concerned about our youth.

Many of the volunteers patrolling uptown said they were saddened about the deadly incident over Memorial Day weekend and wanted to help. Most said they wanted to show the youth that black men care about them and teens are welcome uptown – if they behave appropriately. Others like My92.7’s and city councilman Pat Cannon talked to youth about services and programs available to young people.

“This is an example of the community literally coming together,” said Cannon, sporting a Men Who Care Global shirt.

For men such as Derrick Burnette the uptown mobilization offered black churches a chance to counter complaints that churches ignore problems outside of the church walls.

Added Terry Baskin, “We care. These are our kids.”