by Taki S. Raton
The Black Star Project in Chicago, in partnership with the Open Society Foundation Campaign for Black Male Achievement in New York, has joined to encourage the local sponsorship of Black Male Achievement Summits throughout the country on Saturday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Twenty-two cities have officially signed on to host Black men gatherings in their respective locations. The cities involved include Albany, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Bernardino, Louisville, Atlanta, Baltimore, Newark, Baton Rouge, Omaha, Houston, Jackson (Miss), Detroit, and Washington, D.C.
Milwaukee’s Black Male Achievement Summit will be held at the Milwaukee Brotherhood Fire Fighters Hall, 7717 West Good Hope Rd from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sponsored by the Kingdom Institute for Black Men’s Studies (KIBMS), the theme of this Milwaukee gathering will be “Institutionalizing Our Prideful Legacy and Historical Genius – The Rescue, Restoration and Cultivation of Culture, Dignity and Sustainability For Our Children, Families, Community and Future.”
Respective city summit organizers were notified on November 3 via email that Brother Baba Buntu and his assistant Mr. Pitsi Ragophala will be hosting a summit in Tshwane, Botswana. In his email greeting to brothers in America, Buntu says:
“It is indeed encouraging to see the work being done by, for and with Afrikan/Black men around the globe. Increasingly, the virtues of responsibility, self-determination and real empowerment are being reclaimed and practically implemented. With this, our families, communities and nations can become what they were meant to be.
“ I salute your work and look forward to engaging further with you about practical ways of collaboration and exchange.”
Kenneth Braswell of Fathers Incorporated says of the Tshwane participation that “Our work is a global work and if this isn’t an indication of what God is doing, I don’t know what is.” Fathers Incorporated is the sponsorship of the Black Male Achievement Summit in Albany, New York.
The stimulus to implement these planned national sessions were inspired by the work and vision of a retreat held this past September at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference was organized by the Campaign for Black Male Achievement Open Society Foundation.
One of the key features of this November 12 national summit will be a multi-city video conference role call to introduce and connect the upwards of 250 to 300 Black men to one another who are doing this work across the country.
Each city has the option to select from a running series of topics provided by the organizers. Summit building themes include Globalization, Economics, Business Creation, Entrepreneurship, Health, Nutrition and Emotional Wellness, Education, Male-Female Relationships, Strengthening Families, Building Communities, Creating Institutions, Mentoring and Networking, Fatherhood and Father Absence, Spirituality and Faith, History and Culture, or Addressing the Issue of Youth Violence.
“Mentoring Fatherhood – Fatherhood Absence and How it Effects Black Youth” for example will be the morning topic according to Anthony Whitherspoon of Investment Atlanta, Inc. who is hosting the gathering in Atlanta.
The afternoon session themes will be devoted to “Strengthening Families and Building Communities” and “Education, Entrepreneurship and Black Youth.”
In Cincinnati, Ohio, the summit sponsoring body Omega Mentoring Associates as reported by organizer Anthony Jarrell selected the theme “Better to Build Boys than to Mend Men.” Willie Hamilton in Omaha, Nebraska shares that his sponsoring group Black Men United is gathering under the theme “Mass Incarceration and Education” and The Hope Project in Phoenix, Arizona according to Marcus Fulton will target “The Black Man’s Agenda – Building Black Businesses.”
In accordance with noted guidelines under their respective selective themes, each city summit will contribute to a national solution on the issues of Black men; create a local listing of Black male achievement, improvement and action organizations in that city; connect people in its city to local Black male achievement, improvement and action agencies; connect the work of Black male achievement, improvement and action organizations with connected Black male initiative in other cities across American.
The Milwaukee November 12th day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and breakfast. The Million Man March Pledge will open the summit at 9 a.m.
The morning agenda will include an introduction, a sharing of the summit mission and vision statement, the meeting’s outcome objectives, and an abbreviated showing of the nationally acclaimed DVD “Hidden Colors” followed by a critique and discussion relating to the summit theme “Institutionalizing Our Prideful Legacy and Historical Genius.”
In keeping with the Milwaukee summit theme reflecting “Prideful Legacy” and “Historical Genius,” “Hidden Colors” is a documentary unfolding the real and untold history of people of color around the globe and efforts to disclose the reasons why the contributions of Africans have been left out of the pages of history.
This Saturday’s meeting at the Milwaukee Brotherhood Fire Fighters Hall will focus in the afternoon on correcting historical falsifications of African history and the Black experience towards to creation of an institution for our children and our community to rescue, restores, cultivate and perpetuate our history and culture for our children, families, community, and future.
African American women and families in Milwaukee are invited to this now globally networked international forum for Black men.
In the grand tradition of our ancestors, this community assembly will be designed around the concept of an “Mbongi.” Mbongi is a term in the Bantu language meaning a “learning place.”
When African people come together to resolve community problems, that problem-solving meeting is an Mbongi. Mbongi is the place where one looks for and finds solutions to the problems affecting the people.
It is one starting point for rebuilding community and empowering members to take action at the community level.
For any additional information regarding this Saturday’s Black Male Achievement Summit in Milwaukee, please contact Raton at: [email protected]