The Office of Black Male Student Achievement (OBMSA) in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Office of Equity and Diversity will be hosting the first inaugural Black Teen Summit on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
This year’s theme is Past, Present and Future Leaders in the Black Community. The Black Teen Summit was established to have students learn more about Black leaders that have not traditionally been highlighted in the public educational system. The summit takes place from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, 300 Washington Ave. S.E.
Black male students who are in the Building Lives Acquiring Cultural Knowledge (BLACK) classes are researching and developing presentations to share about these leaders with students from across the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) and neighboring districts. Those chosen to highlight include African-American leaders Bayard Rustin, Stokley Carmichael, Huey Newton, Bobby Seals, Shirley Chisolm, Angela Davis, Assata Shukar and others.
The students will also focus on current African-American leadership including area leaders.
“We have traditionally viewed these people as role models, but we have shifted our thinking to seeing them as, ‘real models,’ said Michael Walker, director of Black Male Student Achievement for MPS. “Real models are leaders from our community that our young kings and queens can see and access on a daily basis. The ability to ask questions of and be engaged with the work these ‘real models’ are accomplishing, right here in their own community, is invaluable.”
Walker said the likes of Michael Thomas, chief of Academics, Leadership and Learning for MPS, Jason Sole, president of the NAACP, and Nekima Levy-Pounds, currently running for Minneapolis mayor are examples of “real models.”
KMOJ general manager and on air personality, Freddie Bell, will moderate the lunchtime panel, consisting of many of the before-mentioned leaders.
Walker said the most important phase of the summit will future leadership.
“After learning about the past and present it will then be time to have our kings and queens focus on their own leadership,” said Walker. “With the support of the YMCA of Greater Twin Cities, our young kings and queens will build upon all that they’ve learned and experience throughout the morning. A continuing development of our kings and queens personal and collective leadership traits/styles will be unveiled by engaging in an active learning seminar aimed at putting their beliefs and philosophies to the test while at the same time strengthening their stance.”