I attended an amazing event today in the Queen City (Charlotte, NC), and I wanted to provide a rundown.
Hosted by The Males Place, Inc., Founder Baba Reggie Singleton presents Summoning the Village: African Centered Resolutions to Black Male Adolescent Violence in Charlotte.
Sponsored by Afrikan Liberation Media, this event took place at the Little Rock AME Zion Church’s Cultural Center. It featured music from the Charlotte Collective Drummers as well as an All-Star panelist.
- Baba Makheru Bradley of Afrikan Liberation Media
- Reverend Dr. Dwayne A. Walker of Little Rock AME Zion Church
- Brother Corey Muhammad of the Nation of Islam (Mosque #36)
- Brother Gemini Boyd of Project B.O.L.T
- Sister Charlene Henderson of Concerned Citizens of Charlotte
- Brother Belton Platt of Alternatives to Violence Program
- Sister Corine Mack of NAACP Charlotte
Brother Mshauri AJ Simmons of The Males Place, Inc. facilitated the event, and Brother Russell Swilley of Afrikan Liberation Media moderated it.
The goal for the event was to discuss solutions to the violence plaguing Black male youth throughout the city. By the end of the discussion, the general consensus was that organizing and healing as a community will help our youth, particularly our sons, grow spiritually, socially, intellectually, and culturally. And by educating them on their history, an increase in their self-value, self-love, and effectiveness as an individual will become inevitable.
Some of the questions and points that I took from tonight’s event are as follows:
- Why are we here?
- To break down the false notion that young Black males are inherently violent.
- Although there are precursors to their behavior, it’s inexcusable because the violence has become a critical issue.
- How can our children learn how to solve problems without violence?
- Before we solve this problem, we need to solve the problem amongst adults. Because we are the problem.
- Collectively, Black men and women have too much ego.
- We need to set aside a day of repentance and forgiveness amongst each other because we have too much self-hatred.
- We have willfully turned our backs on each other, and we need to forgive in order to fix the problem amongst our children.
- As adults, we must learn how to control our emotions; every action has a reaction.
- Tell your brother and sister that you love them.
- Talk about the trauma that we face because trauma has layers that need to be peeled. We’ve become too immune to trauma, and we don’t know how to handle it—hence the senseless violence.
- What are we doing from an organizational standpoint to resolve these issues?
- Several panelists discussed their organizations.
- We need to stop saying, “our children are our future.” No, our children are our right now.
- Black history has to become important to Black people, and we need to build institutions to teach our history.
- There has to be a written plan, and we need to be committed to that plan.
- We need to be pouring our history and self-pride into our 5, 6, and 7-year-olds.
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome) is real, and it’s generational.
- Our people need love and a friend, but a lot of us don’t want to engage with each other.
- Our love for our people has to become a life-long process.
- How do we solve the antagonism and unresolved issues of masculinity amongst young Black males?
- Several panelists discussed their organizations focusing on Black boys.
- We need more Black male teachers, leaders, and mentors in our communities.
- Strive to be an example of manhood every day.
- Nothing or no one will solve our problems, we’re all we have.
- The solution must be programmable and institutionalized; we need more organizations for Black boys.
- Black men and women must repair their relationship, which will repair our family structures.
- Our children are looking to us for answers.
- Black men being present in the household and the community is vital. But Black men have to get right with each other before the collective community gets together.
- “The people closer to the problem are closer to the solution.” – Brother Gemini Boyd.
I thoroughly enjoyed this event and was energized to continue the work for my community.
Until Next Time…
Photo Credit: CMSIreland