Do Black Lives Matter? Are Black males still an ‘endangered species’ as deemed by Chuck D and ice Cube in 1990? Are Black and Brown males still considered the ‘super predators’ as coined by the wildly influential U.S. democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton? Is the Million Man March movement and ‘10,000 Fearless’ program a solution to developing Black & Brown male leadership and advancement?
These are but a few of the questions that will be approached, mulled over, debated, questioned and answered at The 7th Annual Black & Brown Male Summit at Highline College on Saturday November 19, 2016. The all-day summit addresses these timely questions as well as offering solutions, motivation, inspiration and strategy for development of leadership, responsibility, community service, community building, philosophy, guidance and ways to approach an ever-changing society where Black and Brown Males (and FEMALES) have been continuously targeted – wherein lives have been altered, destroyed and lost as a result. Any solutions? There are many offered at the summit.
This year’s summit features, Kevin Powell as the keynote. Powell is a prominent activist, public servant, author, speaker and cast member of the original (and best by far) season of MTV’s Real World – a show that introduced viewers to ‘reality TV’ back in 1990 and 1991 – since then the reality of TV has appeared to be largely staged and fabricated for sensationalist purpose – check the resume.
Powell’s keynote address will be supported by a perimeter of outstanding and alert thinkers, educators, professors, philosophers, public servants and the most brilliant of all, students. The students, all male, are invited to register for the day long summit and eligibility ranges from grades 9-12 and college students. An event where no child is turned away, The Black & Brown Male summit is focused on young males of color, obviously – and focuses on the issues, perspective, society and challenges that in some cases inordinately await them. The workshops reflect such a mission with programs that include how to conduct yourself during an encounter with law enforcement, leadership, conflict resolution, key historical figures, building a future and Hip-Hop leadership among other subject matter. Student location is a non-factor with participants coming from Vancouver, Lacey/Olympia, Everett, Tacoma, Seattle and places in between.
“We are excited every year for this event and it keeps growing – it’s a big day and a lot of opportunities and lessons are present”, says Dr. Darryl Brice, Professor of Sociology at Highline College and an annual presenter. The BBMS is organized and led each year by Rashad C. Norris, Director of Community Engagement at Highline, who says this is not an exclusionary event – it is meant to focus on male issues and approaches and there is an event for females too each spring. “We would not leave our girls out. Young Educated Ladies Leading (YELL) is our summit for females in high school and college and we host this event in the spring, so look out for that and do spread the word”, said Norris.
The Black & Brown Male Summit welcomes and is available for volunteers to participate as well as chaperones and has provided a safe, secure, accountable and healthy learning environment each year – with attendance increasing with every subsequent summit. “I enjoyed learning deeply in my group”, said one student. “We learned that not all po po are bad, but that some are scared and we have to be aware of how they look at us – to protect our own lives.”
Jose S. Gutierrez Jr