Saturday afternoon, Black men in suits gathered outside of City Hall, in hopes of changing the narrative about Black men that they say is usually negative.
"Today is about reclaiming the narrative in our community and showing that our men’s are not just thugs and thieves and underneath of police but they’re also powerful beings and leaders in our community," said Tamika Otis, planning committee member of Black Men United.
Black Men United and Interfaith Works invited men from all walks of life to the march, charging them with changing the community’s image from the outside and stopping violence from all sides.
"It’s terrible what’s going on with the killing of black men but it’s terrible what’s going on in our city streets too so we’re trying to clean up everything," Jahquan Bey-Wright, founder of Black Men United.
Chief Kenton Buckner joined the group to discuss tensions between police and the Black community, asking for a formal relationship with Black Men United to diversify the police force.
As participants marched through Syracuse streets, they say they hope people saw Black men in a different light.
"Look at how beautiful our men look, how diverse. We wear suits too. We don’t just sag our pants," said Otis.
Organizers say they're hoping community members will be compelled to join them in the fight toward justice.
"It don’t matter what skin color you are or what race, we all got to come together and fight together. We succeed by helping each other and seeing each other grow," said Christian Otis.
At the end of their march, participants signed pledge cards, agreeing to fight for equity and justice in seven categories including housing, economics, and health.