By Tasion Kwamilele
The National African American Male Mentor Conference was held last weekend in Oakland at the Downtown Marriott, hosted by the National Our Kids Program, which promotes the importance of responsibility in the lives of young Black men.The conference sought not only to raise awareness but responsibility and accountability for issues facing Black men today.“The conference workshops were full of energy and important information, and a list of incredible speakers helped to make the three-day event a huge success,” said Donald Northcross, founder of the O.K. Program.
A reception last Thursday featured Coye Francies of the Oakland Raiders. Speakers included Seattle Seahawks running back and Oakland native Marshawn Lynch, Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church, actor Bill Cobbs and “In Living Color” actor and comedian Tommy Davidson.
Davidson told an audience of over 200 conference participants that the main issue facing young African American men today is homicide.
“Homicide (is) the number one cause of deaths of African American males from ages 16- 21 – this isn’t happening all of a sudden,” Davidson said. “It is the result of societal ills that have plagued African American communities from the very start.”
Bishop Jackson said the event was “the most profound conference” he had ever attended.
“The Our Kids Program should be replicated throughout the entire United States of America. It addresses the issue of Black on Black crime in the city of Oakland,” Jackson said. “I believe it is the answer to inner-city violence”
For more information about the Our Kids Program, visit www.okprogram.org