Black leaders aim to provide solutions

Cynthia Gomez

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In dedication to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to continue with the civil rights movement, Dr. Norris Dorsey, a business administration lecturer at CSUN, and The Brothers Speaker Series presented a panel discussion titled, “Man-to-Man Action Plan: Actions Speak Louder Than Words!” last Friday in the University Student Union Grand Salon.

Leaders were invited to discuss and create an action plan that would provide solutions to major issues affecting the black community, minorities, and youth such as leadership, education and career awareness.

“The purpose of having this event is Dr. King’s leadership and his legacy moved people to act and this day in age there is a need for events like this, organizations like mine, to really get out there and do it instead of talking about it,” Dorsey said. “There’s a lot of rhetoric. People always talk about the problems. Very few people actually address solutions to the problems.”

The event first opened up with a PowerPoint presentation titled, “Dedicated to the Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: The Man, The Life, The Legend.” The PowerPoint included excerpts of Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” and “I See The Promised Land” speeches.

Minnie Foxx, an actress and an international motivational speaker, said a problem that youth face today is not having a family.

“Our young people, no matter what their nationality is, do not have a real family,” Foxx said. “Many of our young people are homeless kids, they are new gang members. When they come out of those foster homes they have not been given life skills on how to survive, what to do when they get out there. The other young people are coming out of the jail system.”

Foxx said that people of all races should get together to reach out to help youth with life skills in order for them to stay out of trouble.

Other problems and solutions that the panelists discussed were youth lacking education and lack of mentorship helping youth.

“What I find that is the biggest problem for (youth) is they have a lack of purpose and direction and meaning in their life,” said Dr. Parthenia O. Grant, tenured professor of critical thinking at L.A. Mission College and a motivational speaker.

Bruce M. Wheatley, board president of Inner City Industry, said today’s youth needs people to look up to in order to make a positive change for themselves and their future.

“It’s so unfortunate that the high school dropout rate is over 50 percent,” Wheatley said. “But we know that there has to be something done so I think that one thing we can all take away from this meeting today, because it’s about action, is to come up with plans that help implement changes to this particular problem.”

“Those of us who are mentors and who are already successful do need to invest in certain amount of our free time mentoring young people who don’t have the role models at home,” Parthenia said. “I encourage other people to spend as much time as you can talking with these kids and getting to know them.”

Panelists and members of the audience were asked to contribute ideas and to create an action plan in order to provide solutions to the top five themes affecting the black community, minorities and youth. Among those themes was leadership.

“Leading by example is very important,” said Valerie D.W. Rowe, a participant from the audience and principal of Professional Leadership Academy. “It’s also leadership and action, but I think a step that we can do as far as the solution is put these children in leadership roles.”

Career awareness was another theme that was included into the action plan.

“One of my solutions is mentor someone on something that is outside of the box,” Dorsey said. “Tell someone that ‘you can be an accountant.’ Tell someone that ‘you can be a scientist, you can go to the moons,’ because we get told that we can’t do things so many times that we start believing it. We have to make sure that we are consistently telling people about opportunities that are professional.”

Anthony Joseph, an accounting graduate from CSUN, said there is lack of exposing minorities and youth to career opportunities.

“One of the main things we have to start doing in regards to career awareness is that kids nowadays they are not exposed to the professions such as the ones a lot of us displayed here,” Joseph said. “Exposing these kids to more career opportunities, I think that’s the main focal point to get more African-Americans and minorities in general, into corporate America.”

Dorsey said he hopes the action plan creates another movement that gets people to act instead of just talk. “We plan on continuing this work and create that type of movement that was created when Dr. King was doing his civil rights movement so that people understand that this is a positive reaction and not a negative reaction to the problems out there,” he said.