Summit organizers aim to mobilize black men

June 18, 1996|By Kaana Smith | Kaana Smith,SUN STAFF

Organizers of a summit on African-American men that is to be held in Baltimore on June 29 say they are hoping to create standards of action and behavior for black men and develop a plan to encourage them to be more responsible for their families and communities.

The event, "Baltimore's Men of the March: A Day of Commitment" follows last fall's Million Man March and is sponsored by the Mayor's Commission on African American Males. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said the summit will provide an opportunity to mobilize local black communities and establish a working agenda for African-Americans wanting to make positive changes.

Economic empowerment and developing a strong financial base within the black community is an important issue, according to event organizers. Most of the funding for the event, estimated to cost $90,000, has come from local black entrepreneurs, organizers said.

"We want the event funded primarily by the black community. We think our community should take the lead in taking the responsibility for solving our own problems," said Ricky Smith Sr., the summit's co-chair.

More than 100 nonprofit organizations are expected to participate, and music, food and entertainment will be provided for the more than 50,000 expected to attend.

The summit will consist of workshops and panel discussions focusing on economic development, manhood/fatherhood development and community involvement. The Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., former executive director and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will be one of three keynote speakers.

From the discussions, event organizers hope to devise a realistic plan of action for black men that can foster change within the next three years. Plans also call for the creation of an economic development fund, initially proposed during the Million Man March, to support programs and activities for Baltimore's black community.

The event will take place at Baltimore's Arena and nearby Hopkins Plaza from 8: 30 a.m to 6 p.m. Tickets cost $5.

Pub Date: 6/18/96

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