By Spencer Jacobson, Staff writer
The ICT Black Men Conference will place at Newman next month and will be organized by Joseph Shepard, director of multicultural engagement and campus life, as well as the Black Student Union, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and numerous sponsors. Shepard said this conference is “needed and it aligns perfectly with our mission.”
Shepard said that attendees can expect to hear from 100 different black men about topics ranging from sexual assault against African American men and the effects on their masculinity, law enforcement’s relationships with black communities, mentorship within the community of African American men and inclusivity.
This conference has been held at locations across the country. States such as Texas and Pennsylvania have all hosted 100 Black Men conferences, but Kansas has never hosted this conference before.
Shepard said that he was encouraged to start a 100 Black Men Conference at Newman because of Newman’s mission to promote a spirit of consciousness.
“Now is the time to bring 100 black men together to address critical issues that are facing our community but more importantly to provide them with the tools and resources to make progress on the adaptive challenges that they are faced with. That way we can create a Wichita and a community that is stronger for everyone.”
Sydney Triggs, secretary of the Black Student Union, said she and other members of the club were making plans for Black History Month when Shepard suggested they do this conference. Triggs said she was intrigued by the idea of bringing diversity to campus.
“Bringing these men to Newman, I just thought was a great idea. I thought it was fantastic just for networking purposes and for publicity purposes,” she said.
Although the message and content of the conference are focused on African American men, Shepard wants the student body to know that everyone is welcome to attend this conference.
“If someone has the desire or the urge to lean into discomfort and get to know a different community other than their own, don’t allow the fear of the unknown to stop you. Newman University is a place for everyone,” he said. “We value everyone. We value our differences because it is our differences that make us stronger. So, we invite everyone to come out to the conference.”
The 100 Black Men Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 16, starting in the Dugan Conference Center and then moving to Bishop Gerber Science Center.
Because this conference is fully sponsored, there are limited spots available. If you want to attend or become involved with this conference, go to the Newman website for information or email Joseph Shepard.
“The point of bringing us all together is to say it doesn’t matter where you are from, it doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t matter what your socioeconomic status is, we have the ability to come together and make a difference in our community and our world,” Shepard said.