A national conversation for Black men in America is going virtual.
Images before the pandemic show Men of Courage events back to the launch in 2015 where Black men across America share tools for success and push back against stereotypes.
"Hosting these forums where Black men engage in storytelling, vision boarding, networking and asset mapping. Ultimately working together to build solutions," said Men of Courage National Program Manager Justin Kimpson.
This Black History Month, Men of Courage will be online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration is required for its leadership forum next week--two nights of sessions and speakers like New York Times best-selling author Shaka Senghor of Los Angeles.
"To me, it was really important to speak to the truth of who we are as Black men. Navigating these communities. Doing work in these communities. Showing up and letting people know we are more than these little snippets…that don’t characterize us in the best light," said Senghor who is the co-founder of Men of Color.
Past Men of Courage summits would meet in places like barbershops in LA, Detroit, and Chicago. Going virtual presents new challenges but also opens doors to deeper participation across geography and race.
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"Its a story they don’t get to be in proximity to. So I welcome all of our white friends, our allies to please join us on this journey, learn more about the MOC!" said Senghor.
Organizers praise guests from Morehouse College and longtime sponsor Ford Motor Company for investing in Black America before 2020's racial reckoning. They hope others follow suit.
"Don’t be reactive. Be pro-active...by having meetings, developing a true understanding of how to put your dollars best to use," said Kimpson.
The change agents behind Men of Courage insist they don't have to meet in person to sustain brotherhood.
"There’s a great deal of wisdom that’s rooted in our triumphs as much as it is in our failures," said Senghor. "The ability to share that with other young men is really important."