Capturing Impact

Our Recap of A Gathering of Leaders 2014

Let’s Get Free: Growing a NEW Southern Strategy for Young Males of Color This session explored what it looks like to lay a groundwork for empowerment and set the preconditions by which boys and men of color and fellow community members can unite as co-conspirators for change in the American South.


Dwayne T. Patterson The Sixth Group/Partnership For Southern Equity
Omisade Burney-Scott The Sixth Group/Partnership For Southern Equity
William Che' Nembhard Howard University
Nathaniel Smith Partnership For Southern Equity

Main Points

  • In this work, parables are effective as short stories that illustrate a universal truth and catalyze action.
  • A young man was disruptive in a college program. As he was removed from campus, he yelled, “I need you as a mentor!” Sometimes we get caught up in the behavior and overlook the need.
  • What do we actually want? What is our vision of society? Do we want a seat at American enterprise? Do we want a social welfare state? We need the intellectual rigor to know what we’re fighting for.
  • We tend to get tied to mentors who share their experience but who aren’t deliberate about opening doors. It’s important to relate, but the mentee needs other kinds of help. He often wonders, “What will you do for me when I'm not right in front of you? Will you open doors for me?”
  • The healing that needs to happen between men and women needs to be part of the boys and men of color conversation. We have little boys without leaders in their life who value women. We have to address that.

Key Strategies

  • It’s not enough to intellectualize and analyze what's going on with boys and men of color. It take practice; it takes a blueprint.
  • We have to be clear about the data drivers, the data matrix that we’re using.
  • Determine our course, our ship (tool set), and our leadership team.
  • Commit to being community based and culturally grounded.

Action Steps

  • Stay in touch and continue to work together on this until the next AGOL.

Standout Quotes

"If he was in a place that was for him then he might have been a prince."
"Data supports our work; it does not control it."
"I will only be marginally effective if I do it alone. My truth is I need you and you need me."