At the invitation of my friend, and one of my sheroes, U.S. Congresswoman (Ph.D., former state senator, former U.S. Ambassador, and all around class act of a person...) Diane E. Watson, today I had the pleasure of leading and moderating a session of the "The State of the African-American Male Conference," Download 01_remarks_before_the_cbcs_state_of.mp3, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and led by Congresswoman Diane E. Watson (Ca.), Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (Ca.), and the visionary for the conference series, Congressman Danny Davis (Chicago, IL.).
Attended a 200 leaders from the greater Los Angeles community, the conference sought to deal head on with a series of the most critical issues impacting the African-American male; including health, education, jobs and ownership, gangs and crime, and of course, our vision for tomorrow.
And while there was some who talked on an on about the problems we face (racism, etc), most people there just wanted to find solutions to problems, and not just talk about them. A number of good and admirable black men provided tangible examples of what "progress" really looked like; men like Jerry Edwards, owner of Jerry's Flying Fox, State Assemblyman and former California Lt. Governor and former Congressman (and living legend) Mervyn Dymally, State Assemblyman and former L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas (one of the best minds in public office in California on the issue of on the ground community economic development in the state), a strong, visionary brother (and a leader for the future, mark my words) named Justin Sanders, a deputy city attorney for the City of Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, Richard R. Boykin, chief of staff for Congressman Danny Davis, Cecil Fournoy, III, with the L.A. Housing and Business Team for the mayor and City of Los Angeles, Jesse B. Johnson, Jr. with the City of Long Beach, and Terry Stinson, District Director for Congresswoman Millender-McDonald, amongst others. And of course there was community activist Najee Ali and others. Reason to be proud, and a good investment of time on my Saturday afternoon...
Onward, with HOPE