The Dedicated Men strive to empower their members to transform the way the nation thinks about black masculinity. The group started as a GroupMe for guys to discuss daily thoughts, triumphs, and struggles. Eventually, this GroupMe evolved into the vibrant student organization that it is today.
“We realized we may be onto a great concept that could be way more impactful, so we became an official org,” said Brand Manager Russell Ballard.
It is not news that black men experience a significant amount of discrimination that impacts their ability to work towards the American dream. From unfair stereotypes to institutional oppression, men of color must constantly fight against societal shade and scrutiny. The Dedicated Men have formed a safe place for men to not only challenge our country but also uplift the American people as a whole.
Like many university organizations, this group provides its members with the opportunity to build friendships, develop practical skills, and generally enhance their college experience. The organization hosts an array of events such as I Pledge Day, Catered To You, Volunteer Day at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, and their biggest event of the year, Dedicated Fade.
Regular trips to the barber can get pricey, especially for men with a college budget. In order to alleviate this financial burden, the Dedicated Men partner with North Texas Cutz, a local barbershop, to provide free haircuts to UNT students for one day each year.
“We are giving free fades to our community to help out minorities. That’s our biggest goal, to help out through community outreach,” said President Will Anighoro. “Events like this are also for our men to grow and become those world leaders and changers that they’re meant to be.”
In addition to these events, Dedicated Men creates opportunities for character deconstruction and growth. Members are encouraged to get involved in a way that is deeper than simply making a few acquaintances and sprucing up their resumes. Once a month, the group holds a private event called Vent Sessions which gives men space to openly talk about their anxieties and pain.
“This event allows our guys to really speak out on what they’ve been through,” said Anighoro. “There’s a lot of tears, but we get to really know each other. People tend to put on a mask and we want to help each other take it off.”
Not only does this organization encourage positive ideas about black men, but it also sets a new standard for how men of any and all backgrounds can relate with one another. Traditionally speaking, society tends to cage men into the expectation of being one-dimensional, unemotional, and concerned only about success. However, through their public campus events and private group talks, these men are rejecting these ideas and reinforcing healthier, loving ones. Dedicated Men’s mission is rooted in a desire to change our world and it seems that they are on their way to making that goal a reality.