By Roland Ballard
Last week I attended an event in Oakland called Bring Your 'A' Game.
This event spoke about the fact that 77% Asians graduate, 75% Whites graduate, and that African-American/Latinos only graduate at a 50% rate. There was a movie, "A Game," that shined light on the facts above and that young black man as a generation only feel like there are only three directions we can go: rapper, athlete, or drug dealer.
That is not true at all, especially with the knowledge of where an education can get you. You could be what everybody wants you to be like a doctor or lawyer. You could also be an astronaut, journalist, mechanic, teacher, or architect.
Knowledge can get you to them by boarding your views and showing you an example of things that can happen, so you'll be prepared mentally and all you have to do is react physically.
Through out the day we were kept busy watching a PowerPoint presentations, watching the "Bring Your 'A' Game" film, having discussion with Mario van Peebles who was the director of the film and has been in films such as "Ali", "Carlito's Way: Rise to Power", and "New Jack City"; sitting and talking to a motivational speaker; Kevin Powell, who is exactly what people say he is. Powell's able to connect with us young men, even after he's built himself up to be what some people call "successful," but he doesn't feel that way. Powell feels that, "I'm not successful, until you are successful." For the last part of the day we sat in sessions that affect our lives in many ways, such as, Self-Mastery, Life Skills, Male Development, and Entrepreneurial Studies. I sat in the Self-Mastery and Entrepreneurial Studies sessions and learned that the greatness that was portrayed by Dr. King and Malcolm X is deep within us and we have to pull it out the depths of our soul to obtain it, marketing is easier when you have a team; you can't do it all by yourself, and that a person that has mastered themselves has mastered their emotions.
Overall, the day was very beneficial for the simple fact that things like this aren't happening in the Bay Area, one of the only times we come together is when somebody dies. There are not enough positive people around pushing us to our limits and beyond. To have positive figures take time out a focus on school and be there to help push forward the generation behind them. I have never been to an event like this but now that I have I plan to go to a lot more of them.
It was motivational and inspirational to sit in rooms filled with young black males that valued their education as much as I do, if not more, and not have to worry about any problems because we were there to bring and build each other up.
This article is part of a content partnership between Oakland Local and Youth Outlook Magazine