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Black Diamonds Hold Male Unity Rally

PEEKSKILL, NY -- On Saturday October 3, 2020, The Black Diamonds Academic Success members held a Black and Brown Male Unity Rally in front of the Field Library and Peekskill City Courthouse to call on boys and men of color in the community to unite and support each other. “During these unprecedented times in our lives we have to be even more determined in making sure that our boys of color are getting everything they need,” said Martin McDonald, Founder and CEO of the newly formed nonprofit organization. “Part of what they need is to feel like people are listening, and that they have a voice. A side effect of what many youth are experiencing in the trauma associated with the killing of people of color at the hands of police... is that it can potentially impact their grades. This, in addition to the limits to socializing with peers and distance learning, we can potentially see grades drop, and that we can’t take lightly, McDonnald added.

The guest speakers included Dr. David Mauricio, Peekskill Superintendent of Schools; Allen Jenkins, Jr., President of the Peekskill Board of Education; Hon. Andre Rainey, Mayor of the City of Peekskill; Ramon Fernandez, Peekskill City Council; Colin Smith, Westchester County Legislator, and Community members Craig Jacobs Jr., and Steven Dillard.

The group was especially happy to have NYS Senator Pete Harckham as a guest speaker and thanked him once again for securing a $10,000 grant for the boys to go on a HBCU College Tour.

During the event, Lamar Kingwood, a junior member of the Black Diamonds spoke about racial hatred. Although we are all human with the same anatomy we are all not seen the same way or viewed as equal, Instead some people choose to judge people based on skin color, ethnicity or race. When judgements like these are made it is usually coming from a place of hate.

The full video of the event can be seen on Youtube: BDAS Black and Brown Unity Rally (

Today was only a continuation for us building bridges to having an impact both in school and in the community, said McDonald. We have some great role models here in the City of Peekskill for the young men to look up to. What they see, is what they will be... we want them to be leaders.

The mission of the Black Diamonds Academic Success program is to mentor boys of color to be academically successful and well prepared for life after high school. Visit the website to learn more about the program.


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