By Karen Stokes
The UW-Milwaukee African American Male Initiative is hosting their fourth annual summit on Black male youth. This year’s theme is “Black Boys Thriving: Pathways to Success”.
On December 15 and 16, more than 1,000 students from Milwaukee Public Schools, Shorewood, Wauwatosa, Mequon, Brown Deer, Racine, Kenosha, Waukegan and Illinois schools will attend the summit.
The two-all-day event- Thursday December 15th for middle school, and Friday December 16th for high school students will offer a day of speakers and workshops on financial literacy, police and community relations, conflict resolution, Black Lives Matter, the effects of continuous trauma and college and career readiness.
Each year a new group of boys attend the summit and are selected by their teachers or principals, but consistency plays an important role. After the Summit, in order to establish ongoing relationships with the boys, UWM will offer a series of workshops. The workshops are based on the Black Male Achievement Pathway Model, which will identify black male students to participate in summer Pre-College academy and college campus experience.
“There’s such a need right now in the lives of our young black youth – in so many areas – we thought we’d bring them together to listen to their needs and bring professionals to provide them with skills and tools to respond to those needs and concerns,” said James Hill, UWM associate vice chancellor for student life and one of the summit organizers.
According to a University of Wisconsin report, Wisconsin has the highest rate of black unemployment of any state. It leads the country in the number of black men behind bars, with 1 out of 8 in prison or jail as of the 2010 census, another study found.
The black male youth can utilize the information from the summit to help identify and find solutions to issues directly affecting their lives.
“This is the future of not only black Milwaukee, but black Wisconsin,” Hill said.
The Summit is part of the UWM African-American Male Initiative. The Initiative facilitates community-academic collaborations in order to create opportunities for young African-American males in the areas of academics, leadership and social-emotional development.
The two-day event sponsored by Northwestern Mutual Life and Wells Fargo will be held at the UWM Union.