NCNW hosts men’s appreciation night
By Tashieka Hammond
The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) concluded a week of activities by showing appreciation to African American men at UNCP with a motivational speaker, representatives from the King Campaign and student speakers on Sept. 22.
The event took place in the University Center starting with the welcome address from the organization’s president Marquita Brazier.
“Black men are the target of many stereotypes, but they are more than baby’s daddies and convicts,” she said.
“Instead, they are fathers and convicts for Christ,” Brazier continued.
Michael McMillian, member of the NAACP and Brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. explained to the audience “What It Means to be a Black Man.”
“We are all equal, black women and men,” he said, “It’s a privilege to be a black man no matter what the media says.”
The media targets black men everyday with stereotypes and criticisms but it is time to change the media’s outlook at black men.
“Take time to look and see what is being accomplished,” McMillan said.
“When you die there are two things on your tombstone, the year you were born – the year you died, the dash represents all the things you did between those dates. We must become the change we want to see,” he continued.
The founders of the King Campaign, Natasha N. Lake and Jada M. Drew, spoke about the change they want to see and what they are doing to make that change possible.
The King Campaign was started in Nov. 2006 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro when an African American male student was arrested and put on the front page of the newspaper for a fight that he wasn’t involved in.
A group of students got together to voice their concerns and formed the King Campaign.
The King Campaign has been featured on BET.
“Everyone can take their own step to make the world better,” Drew said.
Lake gave three points of advice on uplifting African American men:
• Acknowledgement leads to accomplishment
“The worst part of our generation is we are not connected. Once we get connected we will grow,” she said.
Audience members were led outside to release black balloons for the men that are an inspiration in each of their lives.
M. Cole Jones, 2007-2008 University of North Carolina Board of Governors member and President of the Association of Student Governance for North Carolina was the guest speaker.
Starting with a moment of silence for the Jena Six, Jones opened by asking the audience “Why is it important for black males to have role models?”
The first reason is to prevent stereotypes.
“We have to respect our environment and take time growing up,” Jones said.
“The media does a great job reaching out to young people but the media also does what they have to do to make money,” he continued.
The television has turned into fathers, street corners have become uncles and hustlers have become our grandfathers so there is a need for positive role models.
Next, is to secure your legacy.
Who will tell your story?
What motivates you to tell your legacy?
Understanding who you are and where you’re from was another point Jones noted.
“Take time to understand who you are,” he said.
“Remember the fifth habit to the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; Seek First to Understand Then to be Understood,” he continued.
The program concluded with a question and answer session from audience members.
“Black men today need the support not just from women but from African American women,” said freshman Sierrah Robinson.
“It takes a lot for black men to go to college. Instead of putting them down we need to bring them up because they could have been somewhere else,” she continued.