About Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts (CBMM) 

The Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts (CBMM) was established in April of 1989. The mission of CBMM is “To Improve the Quality of the Black Community by Reaffirming the Vilality of the Black Male”

Since its inception, CBMM has been active in the above stated mission and has been recognized widely for its efforts. We have established a number of programs and initiatives that seek to effectively impact various communities via a holistic (academic, physical, spiritual) approach to service delivery.

For over 24 years the CBMM has sponsored the development, operation and execution of the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development (PRI). PRI provides a stable and consistent environment in which boys can count on interacting with Black male volunteers who provide a dependable counter to the Black male role models that often intermittently slide in and out of their lives. PRI students come to depend on the fact that every Saturday they will be mentored by compassionate, loving Black men who model how a successful fulfilling life can be built on being well behaved, respectful, playing by the rules and being intellectually curious

Positive model of the functioning family and community

Unfortunately many black families live in environments with myriad problems that can be directly attributed to poverty and racial discrimination.   Because these problems often result in parents having to work two jobs to meet financial obligations, time for children is often limited. Because of this they are often depressed and overwhelmed by the needs of their sons. This syndrome played out at the community level provides little support to families who are struggling.

To counter the negative impact of poverty and racial discrimination, PRI provides a structure for success built on the Nuguzo Saba, a communitarian African philosophy that comprises the seven principles of Kwanzaa.  While Kwanzaa celebration is a once a year occurrence, the seven principles are the cornerstone of what we strive to instill in the boys that we work with every Saturday, indeed, every PRI session begins and concludes with a call and response recitation of these seven principles:

Umoja (OO-MO-JAH); Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”
Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH); Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community
Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH); Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH); Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
Nia (NEE-YAH); Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH); Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
Imani (EE-MAH-NEE); Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle

Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people . CBMM, through its Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development (PRI) reinforces this belief and the practice of the seven principles through a “call-and-response” recitation during each of the Saturday morning program meetings and through structured volunteerism with community partners for the youth participating in PRI

Recognizing that parents are vital to the development of young men, PRI also embraces parents and encourages their participation in the program whenever possible.  As a result, parents come to trust the commitment of the program to the well-being of their sons and depend on PRI volunteers to provide advice to them when working through problems with their sons.  When necessary, PRI volunteers always working in pairs will often facilitate problem solving sessions between parents and sons during Saturday sessions or during the week through home visits.

From our opening Harambee, with the call and response recitation of the Nguzo Saba, to the closing “Circle of Love” which culminates with the boys acknowledging things for which they are thankful, PRI students are infused with the concept that personal responsibility builds strong communities in which we are all our brother’s keepers. There is the expectation of high achievement and success and the responsibility to give back.

By Dr. Maulana Karenga.  Taken from http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/7principles.shtml.