What is a BlackBoard Chicago Men's Summit?
As part of our goal to create safe spaces for Black Men to have dialogue, share ideas and concerns, and build community we held our first day-long session in June 2014. A year later in June 2015 we held another. In April 2016, we had our 3rd successful gathering. Each time our numbers have grown and the participants share how meaningful the experience was (see the Summit Comments section).
All of our events seek to unite Black Men, on a level playing field, regardless of age, experience, social/economic status, education, sexual orientation, religion, and any other ways in which we sometimes find ourselves divided. The Summits have become a place where Black Men get to, unapologetically, be themselves.
We call these gatherings The Summit for a couple of reasons: 1) A typical Summit is a gathering of leaders coming together with a common purpose; and 2) A Summit also refers to achieving or attaining high levels of success. When Black Men come together with purpose to be the leaders we are meant to be, we can achieve powerful goals.
For some, the format of our Summits can take some adjustment because our focus is not on discussing or solving the problems and dilemmas that face the Black community. Certainly, issues such as gun violence, inadequate school systems, health disparities, fatherless homes, and economic imbalances affect us all. Our approach, however, embraces the notion that "the rising tide lifts all boats." Therefore, we believe that if Black Men get the support to focus on being better men, we will be that "rising tide" that lifts our communities.
We Don't Do Barbershop!
The images below were given to attendees at our April 2016 Summit on a two-sided card. The goal was not to disparage the institution of the Black Barbershop and it's powerful and useful role in the lives of Black Men. The goal was to drive home the point that conversations at The Summit are more about you, the individual, rather than you, the observer.