NORFOLK, Va. - On February 5, Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 25th birthday, but the unarmed teenager was shot and killed in Florida in 2012.
One local group gathered on Wednesday night to honor his memory, but the meeting also opened up the door for something more.
"The goal is to get folks in a room to talk about all the ways we can see our black boys," activist Jackie Glass says.
Those in attendance talked about some of the challenges of raising a young man, societal pressures and what will help them grow.
One woman emphasized that the boys "need to know that someone sees them."
Antoine Hines, a father and mentor, agrees, saying, "It doesn't always have to be the father. It can be the uncle, it can be the brother, you know, the cousin. It can just be someone inside the community."
However, they say that support can't be here one day and then gone the next -- consistency is vital.
The group also talked about opening up the boys world to more than just their neighborhood and creating positive spaces. Everyone even took a moment to cheer on some of the younger kids for their accomplishments, like Mitchell Hawkins, who had a nearly-perfect report card. He says his favorite thing is getting good grades.
"What we're doing intentionally is to celebrate #BlackBoyJoy. It's a hashtag, but it's a little bit more than that. It's more about looking at how society looks at our boys and not being a part of the problem," Glass says.
Tamara Nazir, also in attendance, has a 4-year-old son. She says now is the time to band together, "as a community in general, we're all one and I think that if we support each other then I think we can make a change."
26-year-old Elijah Dariah closed the meeting by saying, "knowing your blackness is beautiful, is very important."