Since 2017, Duvale Murchison has been a member of 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte, the local chapter of a nationwide organization that’s working to help young, Black men through mentoring, education, health & wellness, economic empowerment and leadership.
He hosted a number of projects, including his annual QC Live Art Experience, a fundraiser to help youth and local artists.
Now Murchison, 59, is preparing to take on a new challenge — he’s running unopposed to be the Charlotte chapter’s next president. Members will vote later this summer.
QCity Metro spoke with Murchison, a native of Lansing, Michigan, about the organization’s work in Charlotte.
What brought you to Charlotte?
I had never been to Charlotte for anything other than a Christian comedy concert. After retiring from the Michigan Department of Corrections in 2014, I just had a gut feeling and came back to visit. I spent three days here, and I liked it so much that I moved here five months later.
What drew your interest to join 100 Black Men?
I admired the fact that they were mentoring young, Black men. There were a lot of positive, strong, successful Black men doing it. I was very much attracted to both of those components and decided to join.
What are some of the recent projects your chapter has done in the community?
We just ended our 2021-2022 seasons. We did a lot of community service events this past year. One of those in particular that stands out is, we went to Samaritan’s Feet. We help them package at least 4,000 pair of shoes to be shipped to those in need across the world. They thought that we would only get one-third done before the day was over, but in that three-hour span we did all of them.
This past weekend, we went to Atrium Health to unpacked and fold gently worn clothing so they can be passed out to the homeless.
While this may not be a group project, there are often times when several of our mentors and mentees just grab a bite to eat, and we bought extra to feed those on the street.
What are some activities you have planned for the local youth, especially with summer coming around?
We have a summer program where we will be doing some field trips and different types of events that relate to our pillars. Our program is going to also include activities like coding and drone training. We also try to help our kids get prepared for life in general. We’re very heavy on leadership development and education. We continue to offer tutoring services and giving over $25,000 worth of scholarships throughout the year.
100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte recently partnered with CMPD and the Matthew Police Department to host a barbershop forum town hall meeting. How did that collaboration come about, and what was discussed?
I put the event together as part of a program for our national office. The event was centered around injustice, inequality and things going into the community. We had representatives from both CMPD and Matthews PD to discussed things like policing in the community, trauma units, things like that. District Attorney Spencer Merriweather was also there as a panelist. It was a wide-open range of different topics, and we answered a number of question regarding law enforcement from the audience.
Mentorship is always a priority for 100 Black Men. What are some of the issues that most impact the young men you’ve mentored?
We need help with our young Black men, especially in school. The schools are not reaching the young men like they want. So, when schools reach out to us, more than anything, it’s that cry for help because these guys aren’t taking advantage of school like they should. There’s a huge deficit with them when it comes to education. We want to help them be more attentive and be more engaged in school. Our goal is to gauge their interest and help them to understand the benefits of education.
With gun violence being an issue across the country, especially among youth, what initiatives do you have in place to impact the local area?
As a result of our Stop The Violence campaign last year, we recognized there were a lot of issues going on with kids ages 18 to 24. We came up with a program called “Titan,” where we seek out young men in that age group that are really kind of lost and don’t have any goals.
We spent some time talking to them and learning about things that interest them to help them establish goals.
We also take them on tours to the CPCC Merancas campus, which offers the automotive program and other trades. This program is available to them free for two years, and they can get a two-year certificate in all kinds of skilled trades.
They come out of school after two years with no debt and certification. Some of those kids started the program and, within a year, they’re getting snatched up by these employers.
What have you all done to help during election season?
This year, we did another virtual voter-registration campaign like we did two years ago. They’ve been very successful. We get people coming on where they can hear from different agencies discussing topics about how Black voters matter. We had the Charlotte chapter of 100 Black Women on with us too. People were there getting questions answered about voter registration, upcoming elections and any other concerns they may have had during this time of the year.
Are there any upcoming projects the community should look out for?
We have a few events that we are trying to finalize. We’ve already scheduled a day where the chapter and all of our mentees will go to the Harvest Center to help clean up. Whether it’s painting, nailing, cutting grass…whatever they need that is within our ability to do, that’s what we’re going to do.
Another event is the Duke’s Mayo Classic, which we co-sponsor. It’s going to take place Sept. 3 at Bank of America Stadium with N.C. A&T versus North Carolina Central.
That whole weekend is just going to be full of events, starting on Friday, Sept. 2, with a big career fair, step show and old-school hip hop concert at the Charlotte Convention Center.
On Saturday, you’ll see a lot of tailgating, food trucks and fan fest-type activities ahead of the big game. That’s going to be a great time.
What are some things that people may not know about 100 Black Men that you think they should?
Our mentorship program is open to any Black males between the ages 12 to 18 who needs a mentor. We don’t cherry pick like other organizations. We offer individual mentoring or group mentoring to help these young men be around positive, successful Black men.
The second thing is that our organization is strictly voluntary, and all of our members pay dues. Everything we do for the kids is no charge to any kid whatsoever. We just want their attendance, engagement, participation and consistency.