Participants of the Black Youth Guidance Forum came to CSUN Saturday morning to find ways to continue their pursuits of post-secondary education.
The theme this year is “Promoting Healthy Outcomes for Communities of Color,” providing black youths a sense of empowerment by coming together to transform academic performance.
Cedric Hackett, an assistant professor, organized the event for the second year with the help of sponsorships from various CSUN departments and other organizations.
“I want the outcomes to be positive coming from the fact that our theme is promoting healthy outcomes for people of color,” Hackett said.
Hackett said the event has grown significantly in just one year. Last year, about 158 people registered and 77 attended. This year, there were about 280 sign ups with over 200 people attending.
“When black youths see people at all other levels of the spectrum, from teachers to parents, they will think about how to honor their kids in a healthy way,” Hackett said.
“I think that the leaders [at the forum], when they see kids that they normally don’t interact with, they begin to look at, ‘okay how do I look at this person as my own child? What would I say to them to continue to get them to keep achieving academic excellence?”
One of the speakers at the forum was the co-founder of The Village Nation, Fluke Fluker. The Village Nation is an organization that is made to empower black youths in the educational system. The organization’s founders aim to educate students about black history and to help them with their leadership skills.
According to Fluker, getting students to connect with their heritage will give them a sense of empowerment. In addition, Fluker said it could help them connect with their ancestors and give them a sense of belonging.
“I believe to those who are working with African-American people, in particular, help them navigate this thing we call education and this thing we call life,” Fluker said. “I think it’s important for black youths to be around people that understand them [and] to create a healthier atmosphere for them.”
Kalkida Yigezu, a freshman, said the event is a way for people of all backgrounds to come together and to find ways to work with one another. Though she could not attend the event last year, Yigezu said she will aim to come to this event throughout her CSUN career due to its positive influence on black youths.
“I think [the event] is helping by first of all, just being there and being present. Second of all, by showing them [the educational system], or explaining to them, different ways that they’re supposed to understand something and not just targeting one specific ethnic group,” Yigezu said.
Yigezu said the event raises awareness that the educational system needs to be restructured to broaden understanding.
Jared Martin, another freshman, said the event brings awareness for the troubles of black youth throughout the country. According to Martin, the Black Youth Guidance Forum is helping him accomplish goals of bettering himself throughout his academic career.
“It makes people aware of the problems that are around them and that they’re not alone,” Martin said. “There are other people experiencing the same things others are experiencing. It also helps them learn new healthy outcomes, just like the name of the whole thing.”