Finding answers to some of the problems that plague so many of our young black men and boys was the subject of one of the panel discussions at The National Action Network’s panel discussion entitled “Are You My Brother’s Keeper? A Discussion on Fatherhood and Mentorship” last weekend.
Young black men often find themselves being put down, discriminated against, racially profiled, and disrespected in ways that no other group has ever experienced. The focus of this panel discussion was to piece together real life resolutions for young men in our communities who have to struggle not only with a system that was not designed to uplift them, but also with calculated efforts to ensure that they never even have the same opportunities to achieve greatness that was afforded to some of their counterparts.
This panel featured a number of individuals with a wealth of information to provide to those who attended the conference. TV Personality A.J. Calloway, Author and Motivational Speaker Rob Hill Sr., Tracy Martin, Dr Marc Lamont Hill, and more all conversed about what public policy changes need to happen in order for society to overcome some of the issues that our young men are facing.
The panel featured a host of distinguished African American men, including A.J. Calloway, TV Personality & Philanthropist, Reverend Phil Craig, Queens, NY Chapter President, National Action Network, Rob Hill Sr., Amazon Best Selling Author & Motivational Speaker, Marlon Marshall, Special Assistant to the President; Principal Deputy Director of Public Engagement, The White House, Tracy Martin, Father of Trayvon Martin; Founder, The Trayvon Martin Foundation, Jonathan Mason Sr., International President, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Co-CEO, Elite Voices & Associate Professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University, ad Frederick Williams, Adjunct Professor, San Antonio College and Executive Editor, Prosperity Publications.
The session started with a conversation about what can be done at a the public policy level to aide in overcoming the issue.
The panelists also spoke on the Trayvon Martin case. His father, Tracy Martin, shared his thoughts on the justice system and stressed the importance of having the conversation about race in America with young black children at a young age. “The system wasn’t designed to protect us, the system was designed to fail us,” said Martin. “I honestly believe that this country was built on the backs of African-American men, and we as African-American men need to stand up and claim our rights in this country. We need to take back our communities starting with our young kids.”
Each man on the panel gave a different point of view of what being a black male in America means to them. They also provided answers and solutions. Hopefully, this panel will grow and we will see more men stepping up to the plate and being their brother’s keeper.