Black men team up: Safer, healthier lives is their goal

caines | 7/26/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Roundtable to focus on challenges facing fathers, husbands, brothers, sons

Theres something happening to young Black men and its something that we can no longer ignore. At least that what recent studies are saying about the state of Black men in America. But you dont have to go look at a survey or report to understand the numerous crises facing the Black community. Here in Miami-Dade County [M-DC], we only need to look around us. Blacks in general and Black men in particular, are disproportionately effected by unemployment, incarceration, lack of education and health problems. More than half of our young men in M-DC do not complete high school an even greater percentage find themselves eventually shackled by felony records. With these kinds of odds facing Black men, the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation will host the 2012 Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Mini-Expo and Black Mens Roundtable on Saturday, July 28. The event takes place at the Joseph Caleb Center [5400 NW 22nd Avenue] from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Topics will tackle issues that include: defining manhood, criminal justice and domestic violence, jobs and wealth and physical, spiritual and mental health. The goal of the expo and roundtable is to bring together national and local experts to educate and uplift underserved men and boys, said Desmond Meade, chair, Black Mens Roundtable. The latest report by the Sentencing Project reveals that 1-in-every-4 Black males in Florida is disenfranchised. Because our Black males are being incarcerated, killed and dropping out of school at an alarming rate, we are an endangered species. Thats why we put this forum together to be a tool that can empower our men by encouraging dialogue among us.

Brother, can we talk?

Featured speakers include several Black leaders from the County, including Isiah Thomas, former coach of FIU and NBA Hall of Famer; Circuit Court Judge Daryl Traywick; City of Miami police officer and head of the homicide division, Sgt. Ervens Ford; and actor/producer Charles S. Dutton (Rock). Theyll be joined by a host of community activists and politicians all determined to change the way Black men are viewed and how they live. These are desperate times and a day like this can only help to change things for the better, Ford said. But we have to do more than just talk we have to go to the next phase, develop an action plan and then get moving. If only one or two brothers take our words to heart, then we will have succeeded. Black men put too much responsibility on the women in our lives our wives, our mothers. We can and must do more and must more of the load on our own shoulders. Traywick says he will share his observations from serving as a judge in domestic violence cases. A man that beats a woman is not a man not really, he said. And while domestic violence crosses all ethnic boundaries, in the courtroom there is still a larger and unacceptable percentage of black and brown. Much of it stems from the financial pressures placed on families today. The hammer has clearly fallen much heavier on minorities. Men often take their frustrations out on members of their own family. Kionne McGhee, a panelist and co-sponsor, says its time to dispel negative myths about Black men. Society tells us that Black men arent educated enough to make sound decisions that will benefit us and those we love, he said. We want to show brothers of all ages that this just isnt true. There are men in our community here in Miami that are excellent examples of overcoming the odds and following the right roads. We have the resources but have never really put them on the table before. The road map of hope, determination and second chances is one that I followed myself. The men that will speak on Saturday all bring different ingredients but I believe that together they can provide the potion we all need to ensure success. For information call 305-809-6260. Churches are encouraged to sponsor the men and boys from their communities. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com