‘Black Men Strong’ March in Cedar Rapids aims to encourage men of color to support racial justice

Published: Oct. 3, 2020 at 10:03 PM CDT
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With the goal to mobilize black men to support racial justice, the Black Men Strong March made its way across parts of Cedar Rapids Saturday.

“There is no leader, there is no formal organization. We are just a group of black men trying to make a difference,” Armond Dawson, who was one of many to help organize the march.

Starting in Cedar Rapids' Redmond Park, men of color and others rallied before marching to the African American Museum of Iowa. Dawson emphasized the event wasn’t a protest.

“This is an empowerment and accountability march. Today’s social climate warrants African American men, black men, to come together and come and address the things that are impacting our community,” Dawson said.

Dawson said he wants people in the community, particularly men of color, to network and discuss things like social justice and violence, things he said are taking a toll on the community.

“African American men are incarcerated at a higher rate than others in this community or this state. We want to make sure that collectively, again, we can support each other, we are there encourage one another, inspire one another,” Dawson said.

Inspiration Dawson said anyone is welcome to take part in.

“This is not an exclusive group, we want to leave it open to all of those who want to participate, this is just a charge and call to black men to step up and be accountable,” he said.

In the crowd were people of all ages, including teens Adrian Ward and his friend Zaren Ross-Carr. The pair said they feel hopeful events like the march are making an impact on social change.

“A lot of people are doing a lot to try and change it, and like people of different races are trying, it’s not just black people,” Ross-Carr said.

A group of 45 men came together to organize the march, setting up speakers on leadership and the importance of voting. Dawson said he hoped to instill a sense of accountability now and moving forward.

“We look at this as a start of hosting or organizing other events to bring networking and brotherhood to address the things that need to be addressed,” Dawson said.

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