Personal Professional

Student African American Brotherhood(SAAB) 2018 Reflection

From April 5th – April 7th, 2018, I had the opportunity to go to the Student African-American Brotherhood (SAAB) conference located in Atlanta, Georgia with my organization Black Male Initiative (BMI). [Below is a video of what I was able to record the whole weekend]

When I say it was a blessed experience, I mean it was an absolute blessing. The theme of this year’s conference was, “Destined, Determined, and Dedicated: A True Journey to Success“. This annual conference is a combination of National chapters of Brother 2 Brother organizations that focus on Colored Men development.

With that said,  based on my experience, this weekend was a tear jerking, passion driven, success inspired roller coaster.  We had amazing presenters and motivational presentations that had a purpose of empowering us to be dedicated and determined to our individual road to success.

Men of color with ages ranging from 14-25+ years old engaging in vulnerable dialogue; opening up to other brothers they have never met before. The Fireside Chats were small group workshops designed for colored men to share who they were and to understand other people’s life journeys. The guest speakers that came were Mr. Aranthan “AJ” Jones II, Chief of Staff, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Garrad McClendon, Assistant Professor/Department of Education, Chicago State University, and Richard L. Taylor Jr., Author, Speaker, Consultant. They all brought value to the conference with their amazing stories that we all could empathize with.

During the first day of the conference, we participated in an activity called Fire Side Chats (FSC). Fire Side Chats are when everybody in the conference split up into various groups consisting of at least 20 brothers. We engaged in intimate conversation for networking, moments of reflection and vulnerability.  Within the FSC, we were to have a conversation with one to three brothers, then after each conversation we would have a moment of reflection among the whole group. Towards the end, we had the chance to sit down with one brother and have a conversation for about 5-10 minutes. For Black King’s specifically, being vulnerable and emotionally expressive is demonized and stigmatized in our community. We tend to suppress our human emotions instead of express them. FSC allowed us to tap into our emotions in a space of confidentiality and allowed us to connect as black men without any negative influences and stigmas we are usually faced with.

During the second day, we had preeminent keynote speakers. The speakers consisted of Brian Heat, Ernesto Mejia, and Robert Jackson. Their presentations provided insight on how to become a better man in various aspects of our lives. Ernesto Mejia prepared an exercise that would enable us to express forgiveness to a loved one. Robert Jackson provided a presentation about developing into your manhood. Lastly, Brian Heat delivered an invigorating presentation on believing in yourself and striving for success.

In addition to all the business that took place, a highlight of my weekend was the mere fact of being in Atlanta, GA. I have an annual goal to travel to a new place every year, which means SAAB check that off the list. Also, I want to give an honorable shout out to the delicious, delectable, and delightful Waffle House around the corner from the hotel. Efficient, and top quality service.

Thank you for reading about my impactful experience of the Student African-American Brotherhood (SAAB) 2018 Conference! Like, comment, share, and subscribe to Thekingsjournal.com. If you have a male mentoring program that develops men of color, I would suggest visiting the SAAB website at http://www.saabnational.org/ to potentially establish a chapter at your university, college, or high school.

-Sir Highsmith

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