Bishop W. Todd Ervin
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
In a unique request to African American males, Bishop W. Todd Ervin and the Church One congregation recently launched the ‘Swag But No Sag’ campaign to urge young men to wear pants at waist level, not below.
“For month of February, we have been engaged in this movement that appeals to our young men to pull up their pants to their waist and not sag them below the waist,” said Bishop Ervin.
“I’m not coming after young men, but I really want to talk with them and embrace them as a community leader. This is a topic I am passionate about and it is really about better representation,” he said.
“Our young men often say they are tired of negative feedback, whether it’s in school or in a job interview. My suggestion is, why not put your pants up, walk straight and you will see that people will treat you different,” Bishop Ervin said.
“Quite frankly, some people are appalled and offended about seeing young men’s underwear. When you buy pants, it’s measured by a waistband, not a buttocks band. Pants are made to be worn on your waist,” he added.
Church One and Carson Councilman Mike Gipson will host an in-depth discussion on the topic on Saturday, February 26, at 2 p.m., at the edifice located at 700 E. 70th Street in Long Beach.
Leo Stallworth of KABC News will serve as moderator and the panelists include Rev. Dr. Lewis Logan II, pastor of Ruach Christian Fellowship; Dr. John Hamilton of UCLA, and Judge Karen Ackerson-Brazille.
“We will look at the pros as well as cons related to the sagging pants issue. One of the panelists is Amir Johnson, graduate of Morehouse who advocates sagging. He says it didn’t prevent him and his friends from earning a degree and now they are doing well. So, the discussion will cover both viewpoints,” said Bishop Ervin.
The ‘Swag But No Sag’ campaign is not just limited to the African American community. According to Bishop Ervin, Caucasian, Asian and other ethnic groups are expressing interest in participating.
“I have also asked Latino community leaders if we can have a campaign and we’re looking at doing some events in May around Cinco de Mayo. I do believe change starts at home and spreads abroad that’s why I started right where I am in my community,” he said.
Earlier this month, press conferences about the campaign were held at Jordan High School in Long Beach and Compton High School. Any faith-based or community organizations can become involved by calling (562) 633-2515.
“Also, the ‘Swag But No Sag’ movement is on Facebook, Twitter or you can email us at Swag email@example.com for more information or pledge cards,” said Bishop Ervin.