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A newsworthy event for young Black men

Casey Thomas | 5/6/2013, 10:35 a.m.

A newsworthy event for young Black men

By CASEY THOMAS

The Dallas

Examiner

I’m not a writer, I just have something to say. On Saturday, I had the privilege to attend an event that was the first of its kind. It was the North Texas African American Male Summit, which was held at the Bill J. Priest Institute at El Centro College. This event was sponsored by Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Inc., the nation’s oldest African American Greek letter fraternity, and the Building and Achieving Academic Readiness Coalition. The BAAR Coalition is an association of organizations and ministries that serves the young African American male.

Since the event was for African American males, I brought my sons, ages 3 and 6, to be in the company of boys and men of all ages. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the room was filled to capacity. We were only about 15 minutes late, and the parking lot was full and all the tables were filled also. It was a sight to behold!

The event was very well-organized and most of the young men were dressed like they knew where they were going, and most importantly, no one was sagging. State Sen. Royce West gave remarks and did a great job of breaking the ice by having each of the young men get up and go meet the men in the room who make up the elders of the village.

After West’s remarks, the boys and men were divided into two groups: one for boys who were either in middle school and high school, and one for college students and mentors who were present. In the session for the boys, members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and specifically Project Alpha, led the boys through a discussion about manhood and how to overcome some of the challenges that come with growing up.

The second session for college students was standing room only. It began with men who are looked at as role models in our community. Judge Sam Lindsey, and other men who have established themselves in their careers, discussed how they were able to overcome the obstacles that Black men face in America, and still be successful in their given field. They gave their personal testimonies of their life experiences and answered questions that the college students wanted to know.

There were many more college students present than was expected. This was a pleasant surprise since one of the challenges that face our colleges and universities today is the failure of Black males to graduate from college. I have no doubt that this experience will make a difference in how well those young men prepare themselves for the future.

I was glad to hear numerous times that this was not the end, it was only the beginning. Oftentimes, events like this will take place and there will not be any follow up. While young Black boys don’t often get to spend time with professional Black men, this was one occasion that proved itself to be newsworthy. It’s too bad our local news didn’t think so. They say the revolution will not be televised. Well, this was living proof.