Submitted on Behalf of Terrance Stone
In honor of William Henry Jacocks, a longtime Rialto resident and active community member who with his wife, former Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter, founded the Inland Area Kwanzaa Group, “The Fellas” dedicated their last Man Mob of the year to his memory. The Man Mob is a group of men from the local Inland Empire community who are interested in engaging and supporting the students at our schools. Some are fathers, entrepreneurs, educators, college alumni, community and civic leaders, business owners, fraternity members, ministry groups, retirees, and current college students. The me, show up to local schools, give hi-fives, tell the students to have a good day, encourage them to study hard, and let them know that they are supported by their community. The goals are twofold: encourage and motivate students to succeed, and show them examples of positive, professional men of color.
The Man Mob is not just for students—it is for parents, teachers, school administrators and staff as well. Indeed, before we visit a school we try to identify a teacher who has positively impacted children the most. Once we get a consensus, we try and give that teacher a gift (e.g., certificate, hat, thank you card) to recognize their hard work, diligence and commitment to our students. We work with superintendents, principals, district administrators, and school board members to plan and coordinate our meetings. We invite them and let them know that we are coming to have a fun, safe, and joyful experience.
Lesford Duncan, a Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the San Bernardino County Children’s Network, was the first to propose the Man Mob idea in the fall of 2015. Mr. Duncan saw a post on social media wherein a well-dressed group of African American fathers in Atlanta were hi-fiving elementary students who were entering the school building. He suggested that the Fellas coordinate something similar here in the San Bernardino area. It was then that several members of The Fellas (Jonathan Buffong, Terrance Stone, Hardy Brown, Ed Brantley, Keith Hosea, Joseph Williams, Alex Avila, Mars Serna, and Dr. Wil Greer, Charles Brown) organized the first Man Mob, which took place on August 17th, 2015, at Del Vallejo Middle School in San Bernardino.
The experience was so positive that they decided to do it again at more schools. Since then, The Fellasgroup has held a Man Mob during every month of the 2016-2017 school year, and we are inspired by the rise of additional groups. Mars Serna and the Emerging Men of Fontana, Frank Kelley and the PACK Coalition Man Mob of the High Desert, and Corey Jackson of Moreno Valley have all held fantastic events, and fully represent the Man Mob spirit. We are hopeful that the ongoing encouragement, across cities and schools, will have a ripple effect on children’s confidence, school engagement, and achievement.
The success of the initial Man Mob led to requests from a number of school leaders and teachers to come out and visit their school. We knew early on that we would need a strategy for choosing schools that could most benefit from a Man Mob. We also wanted to get organized, and make best use of our busy participants’ time and energy. To do this, The Fellas came together and looked at school data from across the Inland Empire. They identified schools with some of the greatest numbers of low-income and African American students, had several discussions, and added a sample of the schools to our 2015-2016 calendar. Though the Fellas have tried to stay true to our initial selections, we added some schools and a university along the way to be as responsive to demand as our time would allow. “The Fellas wanted to give tribute to the late Ratibu Jacocks, because we knew that this is something that he would proud of, matter fact, he would probably be the first person in front of the line giving a hi five!” Jonathan Buffong. Another program that is honoring the namesake of Ratibu is the Ratibu Shadidi Literacy Program. Dr. Wil Greer, Assistant Professor Educational Leadership & Technology at CSUSB has designed this opportunity to help African American boys in grades K-5 read at or above grade level. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for morning information.