While members of the local press were mounting a barrage of criticism against Sunday’s “10,000 Men” rally, two noted thinkers and Temple professors were forming their own opinions about the controversial movement.
“We’re at a moment where black men are dying at an unprecedented rate in the city and we need to respond to it in a way that is responsible and innovative and hands-on,” said urban education professor Marc Lamont-Hill.
Last week, Hill made his debut as a columnist for the Philadelphia Metro, writing that the 10,000 Men movement does not hold the government accountable for its lack of response.
In addition to civilian street patrol, Hill said endangered communities need more funding to implement programs and better police protection. He also said black men in Philadelphia need political education.
“On the one hand, we can be responsible and stand up for ourselves and on the other, those same 10,000 men could get someone elected,” Hill said.
Anthony Monteiro, a lecturer in the department of African-American studies and a Philadelphia resident, said he was unsure whether he would volunteer for the initiative. Monteiro, who has taught courses examining African-American social and political movements, expressed concern that organizers had not addressed broader problems plaguing troubled neighborhoods.
“This is a big struggle,” he said of efforts to quell city violence. “But it does also involve the economic and educational and cultural side of it. You can’t just have our community imprisoned, unemployed, uneducated and illiterate and expect them to have a noble view of the world.”
He also noted that encounters between peacekeepers and offenders might cause tensions to erupt.
“Without a clear plan and organizational approach, all kinds of possibilities could occur,” he said.
Despite the points of contention he raised, Monteiro said, “Anything that people are trying to do that is positive should be given a chance.”
Benae Mosby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.