Estimated reading time: 8 minute(s)
by Deric Muhammad
The central theme for the 2016 Black Male Summit is “Smart’n Up”; a saying that encourages Black men and boys to make choices based on intelligence vs ignorance. A sub-focus this year will be the importance of HAVING A PLAN. I am concerned that our young people believe we live in a post-racial era and don’t feel the need to THINK, PLAN & EXECUTE. We must also encourage them to be competitive. Black boys and young men have every right to be ultra-competitive. We just need to be competitive about the right things. The format for this year’s summit will be high energy, high impact and fast moving like always. I call it the ultimate Black male experience. We have some great workshops lined up.
Our community must demand more programs that address the specific needs of young Black boys and men. It amazes me that Black males are at the bottom of every social category, yet there are so few programs that address our needs. The goal for this year’s summit is to make an impact on these men and boys in the most critical areas of their lives. We want them to leave with a heightened sense of self and a renewed focus to survive and succeed. Young Black males don’t need more charity. What they need is inspiration and sound guidance. God willing, we hope that some of them will leave with a mentor that they can call their own beyond May 21st.
Those who say this generation of boys and men are hopeless are those that watch too much television. The news media, through the negative images portrayed on the nightly news, have successfully poisoned some of our minds against our own children. It is sad. At our summit the community is reminded that not all of our boys have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. They get to see positive male images everywhere. Even the “wanna-be-thug” is affected by the positive energy at the summit. Our approach is simple. We feed off of and feed into the nature of Black males.
The Hon. Elijah Muhammad teaches that our people are righteous by nature; unrighteous by circumstance. I am able to reach young Black boys, when given the chance, because they see in me somebody who sincerely believes in them. My approach is based on my experience. I can identify with them because I have been under those circumstances before. My childhood was not ideal; not at all. I understand their pain. And just like someone saw the good in me and brought it out…I see the good in them and I pray God’s help in bringing it out. I think I speak for all of the other presenters, organizers and overseers of the 2016 “Smart’n Up” Summit.
I want to thank everyone who has supported the summit in the past. It is you who have created the demand that has brought it back for the seventh time. We encourage everyone to register at www.BlackMaleSummit2016.eventbrite.com.