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100 Black Men Celebrates 30 Years of Service

100 Black Men Celebrates 30 Years of Service

 

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100 Black Men of the Bay Area Founding Members: Seated from left to right: Robert Brackins, Lloyd Lawrence, Dr. Barry Breaux, Robert Johnson Esq.; Standing L To R: Carl Washington, John Douglas, Len Canty, Willis White, Gene Nash, Dr. Walter Shervington. Not pictured: Will Bass, James Thigpen, Earl White.

 

The 100 Black Men celebrated 30 years of ser­vice on Dec. 8. 2018, at the Hy­att Regency in San Francisco. The organization began when Carl Washington approached Kappa Alpha Phi fraternity brother, Robert Brackins II regarding starting an organi­zation entitled “The Society of 100 Black Men.” Washing­ton’s and Brackin’s intent was to form a Black male leader­ship organization that would take care of the African-Amer­ican community through edu­cation and work/employment, and training.

“After Carl approached me, I did research and discovered there was a 100 Black men organization in Los Ange­les. Rather than re-create the wheel, I took it upon myself to go to Los Angeles and see if there were benefits to align­ing ourselves with them.” says Brackins.

In Los Angeles, Brackins met Superior Court Judge Roosevelt Dorn, also the may­or of Inglewood who invited Brackins to attend their Black Tie Gala. At that time, Los An­geles was the national head­quarters for the organization before moving to Atlanta.

At the Los Angeles Gala, Brackins met Rep. Maxine Waters, Sidney Portier, Chief of Police Bernard Parks, Johnnie Cochran, Dr. Warren Valdry and founding member Dr. William Hayling who had started the national chapter in 1986.

 

Shalay Chanell Freeman dressed in a floor-length evening gown and Robert C. Brackins II. in a tuxedo.

 

At that time, there were four chapters, located in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Missouri and In­dianapolis. The Bay Area be­came the fifth, with Earl White, Jimmie Thigpin, Lloyd Law­rence, Dr. Walter Shevington, Willis White, Robert Johnson, Esq., John Douglas, Gene Nash, Dr. Barry E. Breaux, Len Canty and Will Bass, be­coming founding members. They met every week at the Lakeview Club, during which time they established four pil­lars of outreach: mentoring, education, economic empow­erment and health awareness.

Since 1992, the 100 Black Men have given out over $1.4 million in scholarships, and have mentored thousands of students into their “Collegiate 100,” a program run through UC Berkeley which supports students through college. The organization mentors students at Frick Middle, Castlemont High, Fremont High, Oakland Technical High and SR. Mar­tin College Preparatory School in San Francisco.

The organization has an outstanding athletic program run by Tommy Smith through their Youth Movement Pro­gram that teaches health and fitness through athletics, now in its 18th year. The program has expanded to focus on nu­trition, food security and are working in partnership with U.C. Davis to develop a youth food literacy curriculum.

“We couldn’t do this with­out the support of our fully integrated partners in the cor­porate and tech world. We are proud that we have doubled the footprint of corporate sponsor­ship,” says Brackins.

Despite all of their achieve­ments, Brackins laments that some organizational standards have lapsed under new leader­ship. “Our Gala for the past 30 years has always been a black-tie event.  That means men in tuxedos and women with floor-length gowns.  I believe it is imperative that we respect this standard of dress to assure the continuance that our affair remains a first-class event,” he said.  “I also find unacceptable the use of tracks with our entertainment.  We own our sponsors and supports first class entertainment, especially living in the Bay Area that is so rich in its offerings of musical talent.  As a co-founder of this organization, I feel it is my responsibility to assure we remain the example for our youth.  When they look at us what they see is what they’ll be.  That’s why we have to remain best.”

 


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