Community Focus: UCO's 2018 Black Male Summit

One of the sessions for the participants of the 2018 Black Male Summit held on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma. (KOKH)

The University of Central Oklahoma is working to address the challenges that African American male students face every day as various speakers addressed over 500 high school and college students for the "Black Male Summit ".

"It's a safe space that allows them to be comfortable with who they are right now. Hopefully, figure out who they want to be in the future," said Black Summit organizer Stevie Johnson.

Johnson and his team worked to put together sessions that focused on financial literacy, relationships, confidence, and mental health. Everyday challenges that impact these students.

"My mom passed away with cancer in 2013 and right now I'm struggling and to see other men struggling and to be okay is kind of unusual," said Carl Albert High School student Bedelu Morris.

The Black Male Summit also creates a relatable environment for these students to be candid. without being judged by their circumstances.

"For us to come together and for us to relate to certain topics, like growing up in single households, or witnessing gang violence. It's absolutely incredible that we can come together and be a cohesive unit and feed off each other, “said UCO student William Garrett.

Johnson says the summit is about creating an inclusive environment for these young men to grow. The Assistant Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion says essentially all of the presenters share the same experience in the workforce and they hope by sharing their journey it will better prepare the students for what's ahead after graduation.

For more information about The Black Male Summit, click here.

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