They couldn’t have picked a better time to convene the community in support of black men’s issues. Those were my thoughts walking into Grammy nominated recording artist, Raheem Devaughn’s Love Life Foundation’s Black Men’s Summit and Town Hall Meeting last night in SE DC.
In this time of deep unrest surrounding the murder of eighteen-year-old Mike Brown by a #Ferguson, Missouri police officer, this summit seemed to be a much needed medium for community members to organize and voice their thoughts on the general issues of black men in America. There was star power of other celebrities like Roland Martin of TV One and journalist and speaker, Jeff Johnson. Also, there were local-based heroes with their boots to the ground like Rev. Lennox Yearwood of Hip Hop Caucus, Ron Busby of the US Black Chamber, Ed Davis of DC CYITC and Pastor W. Lamar Staples of Temple of Praise, where the event was held.
The LoveLife Foundation’s mission is dedicated to improving lives through social development, education, health and wellness by partnering with community organizations and other foundation to raise awareness and tackle issues impacting our communities.
The pictures: After Y’anna Crawley’s (Sunday Best season 2 winner) vocal performance, the conversation flowed into the evening.
One of the more interesting parts to me was Roland Martin’s beginning question to the panelists on who was the most important black man in their lives. “My father,” said Tony Lewis, community activist. Although his father had been a convicted drug dealer, Tony stated that his father was still very much his biggest fan and a great source of motivation.
Ed Davies, also names his father, but for other reasons. Ed said his father had not been around, but he used that example of absence to know what not to do. He shared that he didn’t let it hold him back and of how he used those lessons to know what it really means to be a father to his own kids. “Thank you dad, wherever you are.” I could definitely relate.
My thoughts: Honestly, I was expecting more Mike Brown and young black boys’ violence talk last night. I was glad that those issues were mentioned, but that the conversation was balanced with other topics, not just issues. I enjoyed the beginning question as well. Many times, summits mostly discuss problems and give us a chance to vent our frustrations; there’s surely a need for that. I also support the uplifting of people and programs that are consistently doing good work in the lives of others. And the celebration of black men in August 2014 in America, is something none of us are taking for granted.
That celebration of black men and black boys, and this summit, couldn’t no have come at a better time. #truth
Today, I’m thankful for those using their voices to celebrate. God bless.