The Spectator

LFA looks forward to upcoming Young Men of Color Conference

Photo+Courtesy+of+RobinHood.org
Photo Courtesy of RobinHood.org

Photo Courtesy of RobinHood.org

Photo Courtesy of RobinHood.org

Mia Walvoord, Managing Editor of A&E

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By chance last December, LFA English teacher, Mr. Jamal English met Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore, in an airport on his way back from a People of Color Conference. He was immediately compelled to thank him for his work in bringing the story of self-identified men of color to the classroom, and consciously drawing attention to their “beautiful struggle,” not knowing that their paths would cross again.

Months later, Mr. Matt Nink, Executive Director of the Stuart Center for Global Leadership, presented Mr. English with the opportunity to take a group of students to the Young Men of Color Conference being held at Francis Parker on November 3rd.

 

Wes Moore will be the keynote speaker at the event, and the LFA attendees will be focusing on his contribution to the conference. English 11 students read his book The Other Wes Moore, a true story which follows the lives of two black men, both named Wes Moore: one being the author – the other a convicted criminal, and their respective struggles.

 

The conference has been specifically designed to promote interactions between self-identified young men of color. In addition to attending the keynote speech, both students and teachers will then be able to separate into smaller breakout discussions featuring a large amount of student participation.

Though they hope for those involved to further explore the text, the faculty and staff taking part in this conference hope that the students’ experience goes well beyond analyzing words on a page. It is their vision that participants will be able to connect these words and their meaning to the larger global community.  

“My recollection is that Wes Moore needed to leave the country and have a more global experience to fully understand his own individuality and who he was,” stated Mrs. Erin English, Office Manager of the Stuart Center.

She continued on to say, “so for him to complete his story, he had to sort of go outside of himself to find himself and perhaps in a reverse way, these students are going within themselves to find themselves in the broader community: in the global community.”

Since attendance is geared mostly towards people who identify as young men of color, the adults supporting this trip wanted to make sure that all LFA students could share in the experience, even without attending the event themselves. All attending students were encouraged to actively participate because those attending are not only going for themselves, but also for the betterment of LFA. As a result, this seemingly singular event morphed into a three-part experience in order to involve the entire LFA community, allowing attendees an opportunity to share all they’ve learned.

The Stuart Center held a meeting during break on October 15th open to all interested in the conference. Those unable to be physically present at the conference offered support to those attending, and the group made a gift for Wes Moore to show their gratitude. This October 15th gathering was very important for the students attending to reinforce that their participation in this experience is supported by allies who will be there to take interest in their thoughts when they return. Then on November 3rd students will attend the conference. An open discussion hosted at LFA is to follow for all members of the community who were interested in, but unable to attend the event. The hope is that more students will be able to experience it second-hand through the eyes of their peers. The date of this last meeting is yet to be determined.

“As a scholar…ideally, whenever we see someone else’s affinity, it enhances our empathy and it’s just another lens through which to see ourselves,” concluded Mr. English.

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LFA looks forward to upcoming Young Men of Color Conference