Video: MSU Hosts 2014 Men of Color Summit

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — A summit Mississippi State University’s campus “Exploring Pathways Toward Academic Attainment” for African American males.

With the year being 2014 and filled with opportunities and advancement for all, summits like the one on the MSU campus focuses on and calls attention to specific and unique obstacles to both men and women of color.

“Of course, we always need something like this because everybody needs to know. Not everybody knows the issues that go on and not everybody knows the challenges that we face,” said summit goer Samantha Jones said.

“The problem really is we have so many children coming to school who are not prepared. 33 percent of the public school children in Mississippi are coming from families of poverty and about 70 percent are coming from low-income families,” said Lewis Whitfield with the Create Foundation.

Information provided at the gathering targets children in grades K-12 — the earlier the better.

“You have to start young,” Jones said. “When you get to college at some point, for some students its too late, you know. We have to start at the beginning. We have to teach them as they come up what they need to do to be successful.”

“We look at dropout statistics, we look at test scores and in both cases, African American scores are below those of Caucasians,” said Whitfield.

With the apparent gap in overall achievements, a clarion call of unity is being sent out to everyone to work together for the betterment of all.

“We focus too much, I think, on the schools. The schools catch a lot of the blame for people who are not successful. It starts before then, it’s really a team effort,” said Whitfield.

“And what we have to do is to ensure that we engage all stakeholder meaning parents, teachers, politicians, economic developers,” said retired MSU professor Melvin C. Ray.

And when all resources are placed in one pot for all, men of any color can taste the sweetness of success.

Three presidents of institutions of higher learning are guest speakers at the MSU 2014 Men of Color Summit.

For more information contact MSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion,

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