Since 2017, Duvale Murchison has been a member of 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte, the local chapter of a national organization that strives to help young black men through mentorship, education, health and wellness, economic empowerment and leadership.
He has hosted a number of projects including his annual QC Live Art Experience, a fundraiser to help local youth and artists.
Now Murchison, 59, is preparing for a new challenge — he’s running unopposed to be the next Charlotte Chapter president. Members will vote later this summer.
QCity Metro spoke with Murchison, a native of Lansing, Michigan, about the organization’s work in Charlotte.
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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 hunch and came back to visit. I spent three days here, and loved it so much that I moved here five months later.
What made you join 100 Black Men?
I admired the fact that they mentored young black men. There were a lot of positive, strong, successful black men. I was very attracted to these two components and decided to join them.
What are some of the recent projects your chapter has done in the community?
We have just completed our 2021-2022 seasons. We did a lot of community service events last year. One in particular that stands out is that we went to Samaritan’s Feet. We help them pack at least 4,000 pairs of shoes to ship to those in need around the world. They thought we would only do a third of them before the end of the day, but in three hours we did them all.
Last weekend we went to Atrium Health to unpack and fold some lightly worn clothes so they could be distributed to the homeless.
Although this is not a group project, it often happens that many of our mentors and mentees just grab a bite to eat and we buy more to feed those living on the streets.
What activities do you have planned for the local young people, especially with the summer approaching?
We have a summer program where we will do field trips and different types of events related to our pillars. Our program will also include activities like coding and drone training. We also try to help our children prepare for life in general. We place great importance on leadership development and education. We continue to offer tutoring services and give away over $25,000 in scholarships throughout the year.
100 Black Men in Greater Charlotte recently partnered with CMPD and the Matthew Police Department to host a barbershop forum town hall meeting. How did this collaboration come about and what was it about?
I organized the event as part of a program for our national office. The event focused on injustice, inequality and things that affect the community. We had representatives from CMPD and Matthew PD to discuss things like community policing, trauma units, things like that. District Attorney Spencer Merriweather was also in attendance as a panelist. It was a wide range of different topics, and we answered a number of law enforcement questions posed by the public.
Mentoring is always a priority for 100 Black Men. What are some of the issues that most affect the young men you have mentored?
We need help with our young Black, especially at school. Schools are not reaching young men the way they want. So when schools reach out to us, more than anything, it’s that cry for help because these guys aren’t enjoying school the way they should. There is a huge education deficit there. We want to help them pay more attention and engage more in school. Our goal is to gauge their interest and help them understand the benefits of education.
With gun violence being a problem across the country, especially among young people, what initiatives do you have in place to impact the region?
Following our Stop the Violence Campaign last year we recognized that there were a lot of problems with children between the ages of 18 and 24. We have developed a program called “Titan”, where we are looking for young men in this age group who are really a bit lost and don’t have goals.
We spent time talking to them and learning about things that interest them to help them set goals.
We also take them to visit the CPCC Merancas campus, which offers the automotive program and other trades. This program is offered to them free of charge for two years and they can obtain a two-year certificate in all kinds of skilled trades.
They leave school after two years without debt and without certification. Some of these young people have started the program and, within a year, they are being taken on by these employers.
What did you do to help during election season?
This year we did another virtual voter registration campaign as we did two years ago. They had a lot of success. We bring people in where they can hear different agencies discuss topics about the importance of black voters. We also had the Charlotte chapter of 100 black women with us. People were there to get answers to their questions about voter registration, the upcoming election, and any other concerns they might have had during this time of year.
Are there any upcoming projects the community should watch out for?
We have a few events that we are trying to finalize. We have already planned a day when the chapter and all of our mentees will go to the Harvest Center to help clean up. Whether it’s painting, nailing, mowing the grass…all they need is in our ability to do it, that’s what we’re going to do.
Another event is the Duke’s Mayo Classic, which we co-sponsor. It will take place on September 3 at Bank of America Stadium with NC A&T against North Carolina Central.
This whole weekend is going to be packed with events, starting Friday, September 2, with a big job fair, a step show, and an old-school hip-hop concert at the Charlotte Convention Center.
On Saturday, you’ll see plenty of tailgating, food trucks, and fan fest type activity before the big game. It’s gonna be a good time.
What are some things people might not know about 100 Black Men that you think they should?
Our mentorship program is open to all black males between the ages of 12 and 18 who need a mentor. We don’t choose like other organizations. We offer one-on-one mentoring or group mentoring to help these young men connect with positive, successful black men.
The second thing is that our organization is strictly voluntary and all our members pay a membership fee. Everything we do for children costs no child anything. We simply want their diligence, their commitment, their participation and their consistency.