Failure to do so costs you everything.
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.
A Black male takes the life of another Black male. They had “beef” but did not have the wisdom to settle it intelligently or the a mediator to guide them toward a humane solution. The deceased Black male’s body is taken to the coroner’s office who is paid by tax-payer’s dollars his family pays. Since we’ve mentioned his family we may as well mention that they have been psychologically and emotionally scarred for life by his death and the way he died. His wife and children will never be the same. His mother, bless her heart, will be so messed up that she may not live much longer than her son. For there is nothing like the sound of a mother grieving after her child has been murdered. It is the most horrific sound I have ever heard in my life. And because a man is by nature the breadwinner of the household his family will also be handicapped financially…for the rest of their lives. It starts once his body is retrieved by the funeral home of their choice. In order to bury him they will have to come up with thousands of dollars to cover the cost of his funeral (usually around 10,000 or more.) This includes the cost of his body being embalmed, the most expensive boxes on the planet (they call them caskets), funeral services, limousines, burial plots; they even have to pay a minister to preach the funeral. And often times it’s a minister who didn’t even know him. Kinko’s makes millions off of the production of funeral programs and grease traps like Popeye’s and Church’s chicken make a mint from food picked up for the repast. The deceased and his family are both left in a HELL of a condition. Nothing good comes out of this for them.
The shooter, once arrested, is taken downtown to the police station to be fingerprinted, booked, charged and incarcerated. If he is given a bond it will be so high that his mother will have to put up her house to come up with the cash to get him out. She spent 30 plus years working to pay for that house. It is all she owns. The bonding company will make grand theft money off of this ransom. Then he will need an attorney. A cheaper, lesser-known may take the case for $15-$20,000 depending on the circumstances. To “lawyer up” with a high-powered attorney will cost them every bit of $25-$100,000 or more, depending on the circumstances of the case. Because he has been arrested for murder there are few ways for the shooter to earn money legally. No employer wants to be associated with him. So while he is out on bond someone has to feed him and care for him. And on top of that he has to watch his back because “retaliation is a must” depending on who he murdered. A court appointed attorney is not an option. The prosecutor is ALREADY trying to get him to cop a plea and accept a 20 year sentence. His mother, bless her heart, is stressed to the hilt fearing that her son will go to prison. She may not live much longer after he is convicted and sentenced. His children will have to grow up with a dad who they only see on visitation days through plexiglass. On top of this, the brother who killed his Black brother has to live with the fact that he has taken the life of another human being. Nothing could weigh heavier on a man’s conscience. Nothing good comes out of this for the shooter or his family.
The costs associated with Black on Black murder in our community can never really truly be calculated and quantified. There are so many levels to it that there is no mathematical formula known to man that can add it up. What I have provided in this short message is just a snapshot. Take note of the fact that the coroner, embalmer, funeral home, minister, limousine company, Kinko’s, the gravedigger and others make the money that the deceased’ family has to scrape up. On the other end of the pistol the state, bonding company, judge, attorney and a host of others in between make a living off he and his family. And once he pleas or is convicted, which he more than likely will be, he will be subject to provide free labor for some corporation for however many years he is incarcerated while his family continues to scrape up funds to keep money on his books. I think by now you get the picture. Our self-hatred and inability to settle our differences in a civilized way is big business for others yet it’s wiping us out mentally, spiritually, economically and destroying the families on both sides of the pistol. BLACK ON BLACK MURDER…All We Do is Lose!!!
MEETING MOBILIZES BLACK MEN
By: ASWAD WALKER (HOUSTON DEFENDER)
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Black males of all ages recently gathered at SHAPE Community Center for a city-wide townhall meeting to encourage unity, brotherhood and empowerment.
Participants examined three critical issues – stopping the violence plaguing Black communities, promoting economic development and standing for justice.
“Our sincere desire is the development of a ‘mass action’ plan to unify Black men by the dozen, then by the hundreds, and then by the thousands to reach measurable and obtainable goals over a two-year period,” said local activist Deric Muhammad.
He was one of the principle organizers of the gathering, which operates under the banner “Project Forward.”
“We are focused on youth and on reestablishing the principle of ‘Each One Teach One,’ ” he said.
Durce Muhammad, another organizer, said such events are critical to the progress of the African-American community.
“The all-brother meeting was necessary because it will be the men who will lead our society in doing right and progressing forward,” he said. “Men need to talk to men as men in a setting that will allow them to express themselves and understand our role.”
Deric Muhammad was pleased with the meeting’s outcome.
“I was encouraged by the dozens of sincere and committed men and boys that came to join with us in this effort,” he said. “I was hoping that we would attract new faces, new energy and a renewed spirit for this effort, and God knows we did.
“We are looking to identify and train new leadership in our community. It is time and they are ready. I hoped to see good men come together, find common ground, and leave on the same page ready to get to work. That is exactly what I saw.”
Organizers of the meeting are planning a city-wide “Stop the Violence Day” which will include a mentorship drive and speaking tour of area schools. It will take place on Sunday, Oct. 27.
“We plan to partner with 100 churches to speak with one voice against the rising tide of senseless violence,” Deric Muhammad said. “We believe that Houston is slowly becoming as violent as Chicago and we would be foolish to sit back as we approach that level.”
He added that during “Stop the Violence Day,” participants will pay homage to those who lost their lives to senseless violence and reach out to their families. Pastors will be encouraged to teach a message of non-violence from their pulpits.
For more information visit projectforwardhouston.com.
Two men were in a sword fight. Both had sworn to FIGHT TO THE DEATH. The first man spent 50% of his time practicing his form and 50% of his time in prayer. The second man spent 33% of his time practicing his form, 33% percent of his time in prayer and the other 34% of his time SHARPENING HIS SWORD. Never go to war with a “butter knife sword.”
Life is filled with problems, obstacles and opportunities. But God has given us the necessary tools to solve every problem, overcome all obstacles and take command of every opportunity. He is a JUST God Who would not give you an assignment without giving you what you need to complete it. For David it was a slingshot. For Moses it was a rod. Each of of has been given a gift, talent or resource that we look at every day but fail to develop to it’s full potential. Boxers want to fight like Mayweather but they don’t want to TRAIN like Mayweather. Activists want to move people like Malcolm did but don’t want to discipline themselves to study like Malcolm. We must sacrifice and take the time to FOCUS on STUDY, TRAINING, PRACTICE, READING; doing what is necessary to SHARPEN OUR TOOL so that we can be in powerful form when opportunity presents itself.
No matter who you are and what you do your greatest tool is your mind. Do not become so busy with the “day to day” grind that you neglect to feed and sharpen it. A sharp mind can get you through where a dull mind can only leave you stuck in. Your mind is your sword. Sharpen your mind and it will sharpen you. Every tool needs maintenance. If you neglect your talent in the dark then your talent with neglect you under the lights. There is NO CEILING for you if you continue to perfect your craft by constantly Sharpening your tool. Be Encouraged!
Interview by Reporter Niedria Kinney (pictured above)
The name: Project Forward is an interesting concept when speaking of anything pertaining to economic development, violence and Justice. How do we move forward?
The way forward for Black men and the Black community as a whole is through our unity. We must recognize that we can no longer wait on others to do for us what we can unify and do for ourselves. We must begin by tearing down the divisive walls among Black leadership, organizations and individuals. We must then get back to the basic principles of community building; such as “Each One Teach One,” Supporting Black Businesses and educating ourselves about the justice system that has, for decades, decimated the ranks of the Black male. However, the first order of our agenda must be to find common ground and unite to stop the killing.
Where are we seeing the need for economic development, justice and a cease in violence? Would you say, worldwide – city wide and/or nationwide?
I see the need on every level. Our president is advocating going to war in Syria; which is worldwide. We just witnessed 12 people murdered in the Washington Navy Yard shooting; that was national. And 17-year old Joshua Broussard was stabbed to death recently at Spring High School; that was local. Injustice and poverty is seen on all three levels, as well. There is a saying that “all politics is local.” I believe the same is true for economic development, social justice and addressing senseless violence. We have to start with the violence in our own backyard before we try addressing it in someone else’s. If we can find a remedy in our own backyard then we can share the remedy nationally and internationally. And I would like to add that Black men need not join the military and fly to Syria to stop the violence over there; we have enough in our own community right here. We are looking for a few good men.
What is your specific involvement with project forward? And why was this important enough to you for your agenda?
Quite simply, this is something that God put on my heart for my community. I bounced it off of others and found that God had put something similar on their hearts. We began to exchange ideas and we got moving on a plan. It is not about Brother Deric. This was and is a collective effort. I am tired of seeing my people dying in the streets. I am tired of hearing the horrible echoing sound of mothers crying for their children who have been killed senselessly. It is the worst sound I have ever heard on my life. I simply refuse to get used to it. And there are thousands of Black males in this city who have the same spirit. With God’s help we will unite them. We will save lives in the process. I want to spend the next two years focused on this initiative. Lastly, I must say that I was blessed to attend the Million Man March in 1995, called by Minister Louis Farrakhan. If ever I find myself discouraged about the condition of Black men I always go back to the Million Man March for it was a sign of what we can accomplish when we are in unity.
How will this change take place? What are the preliminary steps for implementations programs and reaching those who need to be on board?
Our first meeting will be held on September 21st at the SHAPE Community (3815 Live Oak) Center at 4pm. We will lay out the principles that undergird Project Forward and the plan. We have made it very easy to be a part of this initiative. It is not designed to propagate one religion or ideology over another. It must be and will be highly organized. We will use social media and modern technology to recruit and communicate with one another. We will build a “Citywide Brotherhood” this way. You can follow us on Twitter @ProjectFWD or join via our website (which will be up in a matter of days.) Some of the power moves that we will make is a Citywide Stop the Violence Day in October, an economic development forum in November and a Stop the Violence Tour of Houston area schools starting in January. Our initiative is also designed to empower and increase the membership of existing organizations, as well. Those are a few things we have planned for the very near future. These are all “action oriented” agenda items. We are done simply talking.
What will you need from the community to ensure that this project is a success?
We need the community, as a whole, to not give up hope on our young men. We need the prayer warriors to go to work. We need Black professionals to join with us and become a mentor to a young brother who is interested in his profession. We need street soldiers to be our eyes and ears to help us bring peace to the streets. We need mothers and grandmothers to sign up their sons for Project Forward. And we need the community to please be patient with us. We did not get in this condition overnight and we won’t get out of it overnight. But, we will get out of it. It is God’s will that we be free.
Is this an ongoing project and if so, what is the lifetime mission?
It is an ongoing project. The mission is the unity of Black men and boys in the Houston area. Our agenda is to Stop the Violence, Create Economic Development and stand for Justice. We wish to pump life into existing organizations and create a platform for new and budding young leadership in our community. We wish to lift up the virtues of Each One Teach One, Respect for Life, Supporting Black business, Circulating the Black dollar, Education and organizing for justice. We are going on a two year sprint to see what we can accomplish. At that point we will reassess and continue FORWARD.
With regards to each of the missions, What are the plans to make this a way of life (stop the violence, create economic justice and fight for justice) and not just a fad for a time?
We have to brand and market these messages to every segment of our community, especially our youth. They must see themselves in “the struggle.” We want to make a cultural impact that has not been seen in this city before. But I believe that the “one on one” mentoring push for Black boys will be critical. A real mentor affects a person for life. If we can achieve that alone we can change lives one by one. That is our goal. We also want to begin to creatively affect the daily habits of our people. More on that later.
In short term goal of the project, what do you hope to accomplish immediately?
We immediately want to begin addressing the self-destructive violence in our community. I believe our voices are louder when white people do us dirty than it is when we do one another dirty. We want to change that. We truly believe that “our unity is our remedy.” So we want to immediately dispel the lie that Black men cannot unite for the common good of our community. We want to set an example of the power of our solidarity for these youngsters that we are trying to tell to pull up their pants. The reality is, if we pull up their minds their pants will follow. But we must first realize that no single individual or organization can do it alone. We must come together and stay together. Thank you.