IRONMEN Official Statement on Police Shooting in Savannah, GA
Founder and CEO Montré Everett addresses IRONMEN’s stance.
Savannah, GA, September 22, 2014: IRONMEN was formed to stand in the gap for males (young and old) to help them utilize their full potential and become the fathers, sons, students, leaders and mentors our society needs. Part of our mission is to stand up and speak out for the needs of local communities. On Thursday, September 18, 2014, 29-year-old Charles Smith was shot and killed by a Savannah Metro police officer while being placed under arrest for several outstanding warrants. Mr. Smith’s death has sparked outrage in the local community. Local and national activists and leaders have organized several protest marches and press conferences to which IRONMEN has been extended invitations to attend. However, we will respectfully decline such invitations.
Since the shooting, the questions come to me about why I have not made an appearance to show my support. The answer is simple. First, we as an organization will wait until more facts about the incident leading to Mr. Smith’s death are known. We are not an organization which seeks attention from the media after a tragic event. However two things are clear at this time about this case – this is not a repeat of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, MO and poor choices in life can eventually lead to an unfortunate end. In no way am I stating that Mr. Smith deserved to be killed, but the behavior one displays and the words they say is a true reflection of their character. The second and most important reason I was not in attendance at any marches or rallies is because on the day of the shooting, I was counseling my oldest son who needed some fatherly advice. The following day was my daughter’s 9th birthday and I can assure you, nothing will ever keep me from celebrating and showing love to one of my biggest blessings in life. What if all men attended more to the needs of their children? I’m sure there would be less of a need to march or rally.
IRONMEN believes in being proactive instead of reactive. Our hope is to implement mentoring and educational programs nationwide in order to create a mindset in young men that chooses education over dropping out, respect over disrespect, wisdom over foolishness, and life over death. Too often, most activists and civil rights organizations react to certain high profile situations and encourage people to be outraged about what had taken place. My question is where was the outrage when 2 days later a man was shot during a carjacking in Savannah? Where is the outrage when a young boy commits suicide because of constant bullying? Where is the outrage when alarming rates of African-American boys are reading below grade level? Where is the outrage when a father abandons his children? Where is the outrage when young men are choosing to be uneducated and unemployed? Where is the outrage when we as men have failed to protect our wives and children? Our outrage is on the back end of the problems plaguing our communities. By the time we become outraged, the powder keg has already exploded and there is a much larger mess to clean – if we choose to clean it.
In cases like Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, and many others, IRONMEN will stand and demand for justice. IRONMEN will cheer on the successful, encourage the failures, and stand for the fallen. IRONMEN in no way will force our help and support on those who choose not to help themselves. We are confident in our plans to change not only our local communities, but the entire world. However, this can only happen if a large number of men choose to take a stand now and not wait until the next tragic moment. Now is the time for men to take their rightful place as leaders in their homes and communities. We invite you to join us in this movement.
Founder & CEO
The IRONMEN Foundation