The Wisconsin Association of Black Men will host its 7th Annual “Black Men’s Initiative” this month, but an asterisk must be assigned to ‘annual’ when discussing this impactful gathering. It’s been three years since WABM has hosted a Black Men’s Initiative, and quite frankly, three years since it has sparked attention as a student ran organization.

With the visions of doctoral candidate, Kevin Hicks (serving grad advisor for WABM) and undergraduate senior Bryan Mack (serving President of WABM), WABM recaptured interest for a “communal family structure” amongst Black men on campus to conclude the Spring 2016 semester. This year, the organization has set out to establish its presence within the multicultural and broader campus community, and has been recognized by both faculty and students for its impact in such a short span. Last semester, WABM tackled issues such as mental wellness, hypermasculinity, as well as sexual violence (with the collaboration of Black Woman Heal!), fostering space for critical introspection and honesty for Black men within the org.

“True2You: Unpacking Conformity and Roleplay”, the theme for this year’s BMI, aims to carry forward WABM’s vision of African descending men educating others through acts of integrity, intelligence and initiative. At its core, “True2You” will interrogate the narrow views of Black male perception that media and society promote, then unpack the true multiplicity of Black male identity that they often disregard.

Dr. Ty-Ron Douglas (ed policy & leadership analysis), a fervent up and coming educator at the University of Missouri-Columbia will kick-off the opening reception as the keynote speaker. The following day will commence with follow up workshops led by university and Madison community leaders, including but not limited to; Professor Anthony Black (English Composition & Black Visual Art Lecturer) Jerry Jordan (Recruitment Specialist and Visual Artist), Pastor Alexander Gee (Senior pastor, Fountain of Life & Founder @ NEHEMIAH Center for Urban Leadership Development), Ashley Lauren Smith (Ed Policy Studies Ph.D. Candidate), and Walter Williams (UW Alum and Verona Area HS Counselor).

*Day 1: February 24th, 6pm-8:30pm (Dinner Served)

*Day 2: February 25th, 9am-1pm (Breakfast and appetizers served)

*Attire: Business Casual-Professional both days

*Location: Grainger Hall both days

Registration Link: https://uwmadison.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5swPeiYZHTcNtD7

*courtesy of Wisconsin Association of Black Men

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