Civil Rights attorney Parks provided the keynote address during the Zeta Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 39th Annual Men of Tomorrow Banquet. (Photo by Norman’s Photoland)
By Charles Moseley
The Zeta Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. held its 39th Annual Men of Tomorrow (MOT) Banquet on April 16, 2016 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Sunrise, Fla. This year’s affair showcased some of South Florida’s best and brightest young men during an evening filled with pageantry and highlighted by keynote speaker and Civil Rights attorney Daryl Parks.
The late Ronald DeHart, a dedicated member of Zeta Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. founded the MOT program in 1977 with 13 participants. After 39 years, DeHart’s legacy of commitment to serving the youth of this com-munity continues to impact the lives of young males to this day. Since its inception literally hundreds of young men have participated in the program and gone on to be productive members of society. DeHart firmly believed that given the right opportunity, the young men of today could become future leaders of tomorrow.
Atty. Parks is an accomplished lawyer and business-man who received an under-graduate degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), and a law degree from Florida State University (FSU). His motto, “Advocate for the least of these,” is embodied in his zealous advocacy and activism in civil rights.
Atty. Parks is the managing partner at Parks and Crump, L.L.C., a law firm with a notable reputation for housing brilliant litigators and masterful negotiators. As part of their civil rights activism and commitment to community, his firm has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Corey Jones. The national reputation gained by Attorney Parks and his firm has led to his appearance as a legal expert on national television broadcasts such as MSNBC, Fox News, CNN and Dr. Phil. Parks set the tone for the evening by challenging the young mentees in attendance to excel in whatever their chosen endeavors in life.
“If you do good people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives, do good anyway. If you are successful you’ll win false names and true enemies succeed anyway. The good you live today will be forgotten tomorrow, do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you venerable be honest and frank anyway. The biggest people with the biggest ideas will be shot down by the smallest minds; think big anyway.”
Dr. Gregory Salters is in his fourth year as the chairperson of the Zeta Alpha Lambda Chapter MOT program, shared why he believes in giving back to the community through mentorship.
“This program is the pinnacle program dealing with pre-paring young men not only to go to high school and to go to college but to graduate from both and make a significant impact on society. I have adopted my life motto as, ‘If I can help somebody as I pass along the way my living will not be in vain’,” said Dr. Salters.
Broward County Judge Michael Robinson has been a strong supporter of the MOT Program over the years. He stressed the importance of mentoring and the overall impact it has on the lives of individuals and the community at large.
“God has blessed me with a home, a loving wife and family, a career in law, and a doctoral education from a Historically Black University. What I realized as a young man is that every child needs an environment inclusive of a loving parent (preferably two loving parents), encouraging teachers and educators who push you towards ultimate achievements, a mentor who takes time to encourage, inspire and lift the child. The keys to success and successful living are in attaining an education. However, the success education provides is sustained if the right people invest in the child. Hence, through mentoring programs like Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Go to High School, Go to College Men of Tomorrow Program the Brothers and members of the community invest in the present and future development of the young men. Their invested deposits are well received and the compounded interest is shown through the growth and maturity of those young men. Too much is given…. I am only a servant and I am proud to give back to and invest in the Men of Tomorrow,” said Judge Robinson.
State Senator Christopher “Chris” Smith shared his experience as a former mentee of the MOT program which he continues to support year after year.
“As a 1988 Men of Tomorrow recipient it kind of spring boarded my career. It gave me an opportunity to meet men in the community that were doing great things. As a product of a single parent household it was a great opportunity to meet great men doing things. Since that year I’ve always come out to support it.
“As we’ve seen throughout the country now you see how young Black males have been incarcerated at a dangerous rate. They’re being killed and maimed at a dangerous rate. It’s important that Black men let these young Black men know that we love them and we sup-port them,” added Sen. Smith.
Banquet attendees were treated to special performances with poetry by MOT Mentees Matthew Barfield, public speaking by Rashard Rouse, bass solo by Christopher Carter, an oratorical presentation by Ibukon Adeagbo, musical solo by Jean Omanex, and bass solo by Nolan Nwachukwu. MOT Scholarship recipients included: The Ronald DeHart Memorial Scholarship -Xavier Richardson and Che Spencer, The Norbert C. Williams Memorial Scholarship-Rashard Rouse, The Alphonso Giles Memorial Scholarship-Matthew Barfield.
MOT participants included: Matthew Barfield, Grade: 12 School: McFatter Technical High School; mother: Melissa Henley father: Patrick J. Barfield escort: Shaiva Hamilton; Rashard Rouse, Grade: 12 School: Nova High School; mother: Viola Rouse; father: Carl Rouse; escort: Jamie Ochart; Dreshawn Harrell, Grade: 12 School: Mc-Fatter Technical High School; mother: Koranickia Davis; Kindly Canton, Grade: 11 School: Fort Lauderdale High School; mother: Nanotte Canton; escort: Kimora James; Thomas Monestime, Grade: 11 school: JP Taravella High School; mother: Tammy Monestime; father: Thomas Monestime; escort: Kimberly Orelus; Che Spencer, grade: 11 school: Nova High School; mother: Lisa Spencer; father: George Spencer; Omanex Jean, grade: 11 school: Fort Lauderdale High School; mother: Elipcile Ilfrard; father: Morange Jean; escort: Jayanne Forest; Henry Coakley, grade: 10 school: Nova High School mother: Oyinka Coakley; father: Henry Coakley; escort: Ivory Johnson; Lewis B. Jean, grade: 11 school: Michael Krop mother: Olive Jean father: Delamar Jean School; Xavier Richardson, grade: 10 school: West Broward High School; mother: Catherine Richardson; father: Todd Nicolson; Lenasiyea Freeman, Jr., grade: 10 school: Flanagan High School; mother: Cynisia Mc-Bean; father: Lenasiyea Free-man; Christopher Carter grade: 9 school: South Plantation High School; mother: Deandra Carter; Malik Curry, MOT: Malik Curry, grade: 11 school: Dillard High School mother: Lisa Curry; MOT: Henry Coakley Grade: 10 School: Nova High School mother: Oyinka Coakley; MOT: Darion Edmead, school: Nova High.