Houston Forward Times

20 November 2013 Written by  Deric Muhammad

The “Smart’n Up” Experience: Why Every Black Male in Houston Should Attend the 2013 Black Male Summit

For the past three years I have partnered with Lone Star College North Harris to put on a Black Male Summit. We themed the summit “Smart’n Up,” because if Black males made more intelligent decisions we could fulfill our destiny and purpose in life.  I believe that mental poverty is the worst form of poverty. I also believe that education takes place inside of the classroom, as well as outside of the classroom. Our objective is the get Black men and boys to THINK! THINK! THINK!...and to give them tools that they can use to overcome the inevitable obstacles they will face in society.

 The importance of our Summit hit me like a ton of bricks a few months ago. At the bank one morning I bumped into a local entrepreneur who attended the summit two years earlier. He told me he’d been trying to reach me to thank me. He informed me that he’d met a young brother at the summit who impressed him so much that he hired him to work or his computer company. He went on to say that the young man turned out to be his VERY BEST EMPLOYEE and had started a career with his company. This touched me very deeply, for I had no idea this beautiful thing had taken place. Great things happen when Black men come together for the right reasons.

This young brother came to the summit looking to be inspired by a word and ended up finding a job. Not only did he find a job, he learned a new trade in the process. His life was changed by this experience. The business owner came to the summit looking to give back to the community; not knowing that he would find an intricate piece to his business puzzle to help move his company forward. This is just one example of how the direction of your life can change in one day. All you have to do is be in the right place at the right time with the right people creating the right energy. This is the kind of energy we create at the Smart’n Up Summit.

Recently 19 young people were shot and 2 more were killed at a house party in Cypress. Some say it was a gang initiation. Earlier this year, 17 year old Joshua Broussard was stabbed to death at Spring High School. Every time we turn on the news we see another senseless killing. It’s not getting better; it is getting worse. And more often than not when a suspect is presented to us we see a young, Black male. According to the FBI 28 Black males went to jail for bank robbery in the city of Houston during the month of September. There is no argument that a crisis exists among Black males in Houston and in America, in general. However, too much is being SAID about it and not enough is being DONE.

By attending the Black male summit YOU create the opportunity to become “a doer.” Just as the aforementioned young man made a connection and landed a job, you can come to the summit and make a “community connection.” Everybody wants to make a difference in their community. Attending this year’s Black male summit is your opportunity.

Suggested ages for attendees are middle school, high school and young adult; however, no one is turned away. We invite professionals and other Black males of all ages to come out and be a “mentor for a day.” Young people need to see more positive Black male images. And, yes, women are free to attend. We especially encourage single moms to bring their sons. Everything is FREE.

Our summit starts at 10am with a powerful opening session. This year we will open up talking about the Redirecting “The Spirit of Competition” in Black Males. Our workshops are so dynamic that we have labeled them “FireWorkShops.” We deal with real, relatable issues that affect us every day; those issues that are not taught in traditional school settings. We do not sugarcoat! We address the challenges of being a Black male in society and hand out tools for overcoming those challenges all day long. Not a moment of time at the summit is wasted. We have a great time, but we are in “impact mode” from the time we start until the time we finish.

Every Black male in Houston should attend this year’s “ Smart’n Up” Summit because no matter who you are we all have a role to play in lighting the pathway for our youth to make something of themselves. Whether we like it or not, THEY are the future. If the best we can do is complain abou them then we, ourselves, have become part of the problem. Join us in this journey to change our reality. See you November 23rd.

Register TODAY at www.BlackMaleSummit2013.eventbrite.com.