By Beverly Richards
Special to the AFRO
Prayer is a powerful starting place of unity, and for the past 30 days, Black men have been gathering face-to-face and virtually filling the atmosphere with praise and worship to effect change in their communities.
The initiative was born out of a vision given to humanitarian and spiritual visionary Dr. Anita Naves. “I heard in the vision there is a serious need for Black men to pray and offer words of encouragement to each other in the spirit of divine unity,” said Dr. Naves. That encounter birthed COMBAT BOOT$ FOR BLACK JUSTICE to concentrate on police brutality towards people of color, and “to address the much needed ‘building up’ of all Black men and boys.” Their first project, “Call to Action: 1st Annual Black Men Unity Prayer or Black Men Pray It Forward” was a 30-day prayer challenge launched on June 25 on various social media outlets. The task was to form various prayer groups to pray and encourage each other for 30 days.
Black men praying for change was an initiative born out of a vision given to humanitarian and spiritual visionary Dr. Anita Naves. (Courtesy Photo)
According to Dr. Naves, women have always prayed and taken the lead of providing strength and compassion, especially in times of distress. “It’s time for Black men to stand up and lead, reach forward to be better not just for themselves but also for other men and boys who need healthy and righteous guidance and associations.” She feels Black men must come together to create unified strategies that protect our families and communities, while empowering self and each other. “Our goal is to raise awareness amongst Black men that more needs to be done in order to generate the spirit of camaraderie.”
“COMBAT BOOT$ FOR BLACK JUSTICE participants must wear combat boots. We wear these boots as a symbol of unity and protest against unrighteous acts of injustices and disparities against people of color.” There are seven elements to the challenge, with each man making the commitment to promoting: safety, health, economic development, spiritual uplifting, family relationships, healing, deliverance and mentoring or community building. “The men hold each other accountable, and that responsibility produces strength and greater divine clarity.”
When forming a collective, each group of men can select a lead person or alternate between who steers daily prayer.
COMBAT BOOT$ FOR BLACK JUSTICE has gotten so much feedback as a result of the foot soldiers helping to spread the word. “The feedback has been phenomenal. We have reached over 5,000 men asking for prayer via social media. Elder Terry Scott, a social media influencer, said when he heard about it, he immediately got involved and shared it on his multiple social media pages.” Elder Scott shared that men from all around the world have reached out to him for prayer. “This is indicative that men, and not just Black men, are hurting on so many levels of society.”
Dr. Naves was proud to announce that, “Due to the favorable attention it received, the project has been extended beyond 30 days making it a crusade for transformative change and camaraderie.”