Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference (ALC)
Arnold N Gordon-Bray, BG USA, retired.
The CBCF Annual Legislative Conference ( ALC ) is the leading policy conference on issues impacting African Americans and the global black community.
Thought leaders, legislators and concerned citizens engage on economic development, civil and social justice, public health and education issues. More than 9,000 people attended the more than 70 public policy forums and much more.
I must first begin by stating I was woefully unprepared for the magnitude of the ALC! I came prepared to listen and report on thoughts derived from the My Brothers Keeper’s Symposium, only to discover there were over 50 meetings on Friday alone.
Moreover this was three day conference filled with businessmen, experts, Congressional Leaders, Movie and Television personalities all attempting to discuss and develop potential solutions to myriad problems facing America in underserved and minority communities. As my daughter was given some extremely challenging news, I could only afford three hours to listen and digest as much as I could from this rich vein of information.
My first meeting was “The Impact of the Criminal Justice System on Fathers, Men and Boys.” This session was sponsored by Hon James Clyburne of South Carolina. Amng the Expert voices was the father of Trayvon Martin, Mr. Martin. A lot of discussion time was spent describing the conditions that make men have find illegal alternatives to support their families.
Statistics were used to capture disproportionate arrest and sentences both for color and crimes that make employment options less for these (underserved and minority) communities. Parental involvement and mentorship was described and a critical element in changing the algorithm.
Mr. Martin provided both his testimony and announced his Foundation the Circle of Fathers, who attempt to be both a group to address Fathers who loss sons but also a group of Men who bind to themselves to be proactive Fathers both in the home and out of the house—Fathers who are committed to working with and through mothers to ensure their sons know they have Fathers regardless of his location or relationship with the mother.
My second meeting was the focus of attendance, The My Brother’s Keeper Townhall. This Symposium was sponsored by Congresswoman Wilson and facilitated by Omari Star of TV’s Power as “Ghost”. Hon Wilson kicked off the event by inducting several of her famous panelists as honorees into her Five Thousand Mentor Group and defined the efficacy of this group stating that thus far her Mentor 5K has been responsible for sending twenty-five thousand minorities to college from south Florida alone.
Familiar themes surfaced during this Symposium as Mr. Martin (Traybon’s father) also spoke during the introduction highlighting the need for men to be in the lives of young Black men especially. A key point the seemed to elicit mumbled concurrence is that the state can’t raise or children.
Here I editorialize that most men really want greater autonomy in the type discipline needed for our children. Hon Wilson also provided heartfelt comments reminding the audience that young black men don’t come into the world as criminals or felons but they become treated as such at some point. Rep. Wilson later amplified this point describing children being expelled from elementary school and handcuffed as early as third grade?