Noted publisher to host summit on black male achievement

Organizers hope strong mentoring can reduce violence

June 14, 2012

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(WBEZ/Natalie Moore)
Poet and publisher Haki Madhubuti is helping organize the summit.

Third World Press publisher and noted author Haki Madhubuti is hosting a national summit on black male achievement in Chicago this weekend. Tops on the agenda for this first-time summit? Youth violence.

“Part of my mission in life is, How do I reverse this? How do we bring, say, preventative health to the black community —  most certainly [to] black youth,” Madhubuti said.

But the summit doesn’t just look at violence through an isolated lens. Madhubuti said obesity, entrepreneurial outreach and understanding the criminal justice system are also on the table.

Madhubuti’s Third World Press Foundation is convening the summit to target people who deal with youth: from educators to social service workers.

“We will not allow racism to stop us from developing and moving to the next level. But you have to have institutional development and within the context of institutional development you have to have serious men and women who will essentially dedicate their lives to that effort,” Madhubuti said.

He said one solution is youth mentoring, which cannot be the “drive by” or sporadic variety.

“They have to see success and they have to get out of these communities. So what we’ll be planning as we move into the fall are trips outside of their communities to see black people who are actually successful,” Madhubuti said. “Because I come from the same community. I grew up around pimps and hos, slamming Cadillac doors on the West Side of Chicago.”

Presenters include Susan L. Taylor of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and former editor of Essence Magazine; Dr. Carl Bell, a community psychiatrist; and Bakari Kitwana, hip-hop activist and scholar. Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree will also participate in a panel discussion on black males and the criminal justice system.

The summit is June 15-16 at Kennedy-King, 6301 S. Halsted Ave.General registration for the two-day conference is $45. Students are admitted free with high school or college I.D.