Emphasis put on black men's strengths Conference stresses economic development

July 07, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

As a businessman, Bob Ingram has attended conventions and conferences all over the country that focus on economic development, but he had never been to one for African-American men.

So Ingram, along with two partners, organized the Brother 2 Brother 4 Brothers National Empowerment and Economic Growth Conference, which began yesterday at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The two-day event, co-sponsored by V-103 FM radio station and open from noon to 8 p.m. today, features more than 50 exhibitors and vendors, seminars, free health screenings and entertainment. Admission is $6.

"We felt there was a need for an event for African-American men and their families with a specific emphasis on economic development and empowerment," said Ingram, a marketing and advertising consultant and president of Sphinx Communications. "This was an area that had not been addressed."

Aaron Simpson said he came to show support for an event he believes will help to continue the momentum of the Million Man March, a gathering in Washington last October designed to show unity among African-American men.

"It's important for African-American men to come together and have a common goal," said Simpson, founder of Pieboy Entertainment, a local record label and production company. "To succeed, we need to come out and meet and greet each other."

MCI sales supervisor Lamont Williams came to provide information about his employer and said he was pleased to see a strong showing of colleges and universities at the conference.

"Education needs to be stressed," said Williams, a 25-year-old Morgan State University graduate who has been with MCI for six years. "This event is an opportunity to come together and share ideas and successes."

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a 7th District Democrat, served as honorary chairman and cut the ribbon yesterday to begin the conference. Cummings said he expects to see more events in which black men come together to network.

"There is a statement outside of Sinai Hospital and several synagogues that has been burning on every part of my DNA, which says, 'From strength to strength,' " Cummings said.

Pub Date: 7/07/96

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