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by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I am writing this from the Congressional Black Caucus Convention in Washington, DC. I just sat on a panel relating to the state of the black male in America. The event was awesome, and the crowd was standing-room only. I am always proud and inspired to see hundreds of black folks come together to save and protect our boys. There are millions of us who truly value education and are willing to fight for our kids.
Here are five things that I learned from the event:
1) The movie “Hoodwinked” is both awesome and important: The audience loved the new Janks Morton film, and I consider it to be one of the more important films of the last 10 years. This film should be required viewing for anyone who cares about black males on any level.
2) Tim King and Urban Prep Academy have a model that should be replicated around the nation: Urban Prep Academy, the school that sent 100% of its black male students to college, have done something that other schools consider to be impossible. My only question is, “Why aren’t they getting millions more in funding to be able to provide support for all of the lost kids in Chicago?”
3) Dr. Bryant Marks at Morehouse is doing amazing work: Bryant and I had a great conversation about doing work for black males and not apologizing for it. Far too often, those who work on issues that affect black men are told to do something else, as if our boys aren’t important. To those people, I simply say, “Go straight to h**l.”
4) We are all black leaders: When I was asked what black leaders should do to help black boys, I simply didn’t know what to say. Honestly, there are almost no individuals who can claim to be legitimate black leaders on the national level. The fact is that the room was full of leaders – educators, principles, superintendents, fathers, mothers and church leaders. These are the people we should be counting on to save our community.
5) The White House should be encouraged to continue doing even more for black students at all levels: The man on the panel representing the White House, John Wilson, seemed like a nice guy. I spoke with him and liked him, although I am never quite sure how to interpret remarks from anyone who clearly can’t tell the other side of the story. I’m not one to say that the Obama Administration isn’t doing enough for HBCUs and black students, but I can’t say that I’m sure they’re doing their best. Let’s just hope that they are.
Overall, the event was awesome. We’ve got work to do, but we’ve got more resources than we’ve ever had before. It’s time to save our children together.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. He also appears in the Janks Morton film “Hoodwinked.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.