By Jahziel Tello
Special to The Collegian
The Black Male Summit—happening today in Room 192 of the University Business Center from noon to 4 p.m.—is inviting students, faculty and the community to come out and get positive.
Johnny Conley, a mentor and one of the summit’s main organizers, said the event is designed to assist Fresno State’s current African-American males with societal issues he believes they encounter on campus and in the community.
Conley said the event will feature a guest panel of students, faculty and professionals who will discuss issues, such as low retention rates in high school and in college. He said the event also “brings awareness and dialogue to the concerns and challenges African-American males endure.”
“I get satisfaction by educating our young people on the challenges they are going through and eventually will face after college,” Conley said. “It is about preparing them for the real-world corporate America.”
Conley said events like the Black Male Summit help to educate these young men and mentor them toward a path of success.
“I pursued this event because I have a passion on aiding in the development of our students,” Conley said.
Devon Boone has been under the wing of Conley and is the historian for Social Work Association, a member of Black Students United and will also be on the panel at the summit.
Boone said he is interning this semester for Men’s Alliance, which is a mentoring program through Fresno Unified School District.
“The program helps students to develop character development and leadership,” Boone said. “My role is to meet with students one-on-one about their academic grades and the personal issues they face.
“I connect them with the kind of resources they need, as well as being there for them.”
Boone said he worked with Conley on the summit by collaborating and coming up with questions on specific issues prevalent for African-American males in today’s society.
“I am hoping that students receive the knowledge on strategies on how to maneuver through school successfully, and who to talk to and discovering ways that can help their well-being,” Boone said.
The Black Male Summit will involve a question and answer discussion with the help of the community and other organizations, including Fresno State Black Faculty/Staff Association, E.D.G.E. and University Outreach Services.
Conley said he is expecting 40-60 people to attend and promises students will leave with a new perspective.
“Students will have a better understanding on relationships among males and females, family structures, reclaiming a positive male image, financial responsibility and creating a positive swagger,” Conley said. “This event will impact many lives and is intended to guide our young men to success.”