There is a new very positive tradition that is taking over the nation where men, black men in particular, gather at schools to greet, high five and dap students as they enter the school for the first day of school.
It started with a member of the organization 100 Black Men organizing one in his city, which got lots of media attention. The idea caught on and since then, it has spread o other cities. Hartford, Connecticut; Boston, Massachusetts, Seattle, Washington; Texas, Dayton, Ohio, New York, City and other cities have taken on the trend and organized similar First Day of School greetings.
In Texas at Kelly Elementary School, “9 out of 10 students are raised by a female family member and may not have a male role model,” Principal Alaina Criner said of the event where men came to her school this year.
“Just so they have someone to look up to,” Criner told KTNTV about the effects of the men’s presence. “Someone that maybe looks like them, or someone else in their life as a role model.”
Attorney DeVaughn Ward organized one at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary a few years back and had this to say to Yahoo! Parenting:
“In this school they may not typically see career professionals on a regular basis. So we wanted them to see people who look like them out there supporting them. Seeing someone in a suit and tie would hopefully encourage them and give them the idea that ‘maybe someday I can do that too.’”
In Seattle, Washington, Seattle University Law Professor Bryan Adamson wore his academic robe and hat and explained the importance of showing up for dispelling myths and stereotypes about black men, and showing this demographic in a positive light.
“(Students) remember, and they model,” Adamson said. “They see these images of what they could become, whether they look like us or not, and go into their communities. They are the ones changing the narrative.”
In Maryland, schools are not open until after labor day so Maryland Delegate Angela Angel is using her nonprofit charity, Advocate Angel, to enlist men to help welcome students in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is calling the county-wide event, “Dap Day,” named for the friendly fist or fist greeting.
There are shifts of 7-8am, 8-9am, and 9-10am, Angel told local radio this morning. They can find out more information and sign up here.