The Black Men and Boys Week event brought in some of the most renowned black thinkers of the modern era to address the misconceptions and stigmas surrounding young black males.
BY LAURA MULROONEY, Contributor
ST. PETERSBURG – Black men and boys have been stigmatized throughout the country based off of a few facts and many preconceptions, yet a community of individuals and groups believe that black men and boys are worthy of love, support and redemption.
Dr. Christopher Warren, project coordinator of Figuring It Out for the Child (FIOC) in the Family Study Center at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg (USFSP) and a myriad of local and nationally recognized speakers kick-started a discussion throughout the city addressing misconceptions and stigmas surrounding young black males.
“We are doing Black Men and Boys Week because if we are going to address any of the issues that confront us, we have to have a united understanding of what they are. We have to define our terms and be on the same page,” said Warren.
The six-day event was held throughout St. Pete from Aug. 29 to Sept 3. It served as an opportunity for concerned community members, mentoring groups and program providers to engage in strategic action and support-based workshops, lectures and roundtable discussions on issues surrounding black men and boys.
In addition to community outreach, the week also intended to repair and strengthen inter-generational relationships between youth, parents and caregivers and to empower and educate fathers on how to develop and maintain critical fatherhood skills to include communication and discipline techniques.
The week started off at Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church with a discussion entitled “The Faith Community Role in Education,” by Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt.
Historically, a critical role of the African-American church has been that of a home and safe haven for both faith-based and secular education to the youth. Wyatt discussed how the faith community in St. Pete is engaging in this work, and how the community can generate greater collaboration for widespread impact.
Wyatt is a thought leader for New York’s faith-based and secular nonprofit sectors, and has worked with three generations of young people as an educator, counselor, program developer, administrator, mentor and advocate.
The Enoch Davis Recreational Center hosted Dr. Willie J. Kimmons for his discussion entitled “Save Children, Save Schools: Education Resources for Parents” Wednesday night.
Kimmons is one of America’s leading authorities on education, leadership, parental involvement, and health related issues. He believes that children are our greatest resource and an extension of us.
His interactive workshop intended to assist parents and others who are involved in the important job in helping to raise and educate children.
The week-long event was sponsored in part by the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Healthy Start and other organizations.
Related Stories – Next | More Than a Statistic: The Plight of Black Men & Boys in St. Pete