Standing for Justice, Mental Health and Protecting Women, Children and Communities
By George D. Taylor
WASHINGTON, DC – Following opening remarks by Congressman James E. Clyburn, (D-SC), Thabiti Boone, Fatherhood Representative and Liaison to Former President Barack Obama’s White House, opened the Congressional Black Caucus/Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Issues Forum by introducing Host Congressman Clyburn and Grand Basileus Antonio F. Knox, Sr., 40th Grand Basileus of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Grand Basileus Knox presented Congressman Clyburn with an award for his exceptional work on behalf of the people of South Carolina. Knox reminded the audience: “We can never think that our vote doesn’t count. Every vote counts. People died so that we could vote; local elections are important; state elections are important. The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity voter education and registration drive continues,” he said.
Earl Wilson, Co-Chairman of the International Fatherhood and Mentoring Committee of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., made a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the fraternity’s commitment to keeping President Obama’s Fatherhood & Mentoring legacy alive. He cited several Obama era initiatives: Brother You’re on My Mind, Affordable Health Care, Criminal Reform-Reentry, and Mentoring activities that remain active fraternity initiatives.
Boone summarized the charge to the panel. He said we must be, “intentional about our Fatherhood Initiatives. Can we have our men to step up and be fathers? How do we as men protect our women and families.”
Subject matter experts were Devine 9 Fraternity and Sorority members: Dr. David Marion, Psychologist and 1st Vice Grand Basileus, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Benjamin L. Crump, Esq., Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Daryl D. Parks, Esq., General Counsel, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Kevin Powell, Acclaimed Activist, Speaker, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; L-Mani S. Viney, Educator, Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation, Kappa League Mentoring Program; Dr. Stephanie Meyers, Black Women for Positive Change, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; and Jenabu Williams, Educator, International Representative, Sigma Beta Club Mentoring Initiative, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Thabiti Boone, conference moderator, began the panel discussion with topics: Criminal Justice Reform, Mandatory minimums, 45 redirecting the citizens focus.
Boone asked Attorney Crump: “Where do we go from here?”
Attorney Benjamin L. Crump: “It was bad when they killed Travon Martin in the street. It is bad when our youth are killed in the court room. …can’t get life insurance when you have become a felon. 7% of the prison population is Black. Either all African Americans are criminals or our criminal justice system is broken. Everything is about profit; for profit foster care; over medicated. It is the right thing to do to stand up and fight for our children.”
Boone to Atty Parks: What do you need when you go into the court room to work on our behalf?
Attorney Daryl Parks: As you search for a lawyer and work to save black lives, ask questions of your lawyer. The big question is “what is your experience with black people?”
Boone: How did we get here; where do we go from here?
Kevin Powell: Never let anyone define you. Read, study, travel! You must be prepared for this life! Land and education are primary requirements for life. He said that his father had a slave mentality. We can’t talk about Fatherhood and Mentoring until we know our father. Three things saved his life: 1) Vision – Kevin, you are going to college; 2) Mental health; 3) Education – Most of us don’t know who we are! If you want to change the system you’ve got to be educated.
Boone: How can we help the Black Women for Positive Change movement?
Dr. Stephanie Myers: Fathers are Kings; “You are our Kings,” said Dr. Myers!! “No more violence in the home is a goal for you to consider as you seek to change the culture of America. Women are looking for you to change the world. What is all the violence about? Our youth are saying, ‘We are upset because the adults are stressing us out! We are leaving home because of the fighting in the home. We want a week of non-violence; 60% of young men go to jail,” she said. She ended her remarks by showing the trailer to a film on U-Tube produced by Black Women for Positive Change.
Boone: Does mentoring replace the father?
E-Mani V. Viney: The effectiveness of mentoring goes beyond talking of social action. A mentor can never replace the father. Don’t put undue pressure on the mentee or the mentor. A mentor is not a replacement for the father. Mentors must speak to issues of social action. National youth leaders need to get together to exchange services.
Jenabu Williams: We must continue to become a brotherhood of conscious men. When men stand up, boys sit down! We must take ownership and responsibility of manhood and Fatherhood. He cited some of the works of the late Omega man Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who was a preeminent educator and author of The Mis-Education of the Negro.
Boone: Given what you have heard from the panelist, how do we keep our minds right?
Dr. David Marion: If you are not mentally healthy, you are not healthy. We think, we behave, we feel! The brain can get sick just like any other part of the body! If incarcerated 30 days, your Medicaid is cut off! We have a program called: Brother You’re On My Mind! It is dedicated to working with the mental state of Black men.
For information contact: George D. Taylor, Ed. D., Marketing and Public Relations Chairman, International Committee on Fatherhood and Mentoring, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org