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Activist Deric Muhammad & Rice University team up at  to address “unique needs” of Black Males

by Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

“There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”President Barack Obama, July 19, 2013

HOUSTON-When statistics tell us that African American and Hispanic young men are more than six times as likely to be victims of murder than their white peers — and account for almost half of the country’s murder victims each year, it should do more than just raise eyebrows.

That statistic alone is enough to cause to get involved, take action and make a difference.

That is what activist Deric Muhammad is doing – taking the “bull by the horns” and working to change the future destinies of thousands of Houston youth.

Looking at the issue from a local perspective, Muhammad is addressing some of these unique challenges faced by Black males in our society, partnering with the Rice University Office of Multicultural Community Relations to organize a Black Male Summit in the Grand Hall.

The event is Tuesday, April 29 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m and will take place in the Grand Hall.

The theme of the summit is “Smart’n Up.”

It is an altar call for Black males to make better choices in life.

Guest Speakers and Presenters for the event include:

* Deric Muhammad-Community Activist

* ARTHUR “SILKY SLIM” REED- Nationally Renown Gang Expert

* Pastor E.A. Deckard- Greenhouse International Church

* Reginald Gordon-Operation Outreach “OG1”

*Charles Caldwell-Nationally Renoun Artist

*Texas Southern University Omega Psi Phi

*Rice University Black Student Association

*Rice University Black Alumi

This is a school day. Therefore, we are inviting local high schools and middle schools to bring students to the campus of Rice University for an experience that they will never forget,” Muhammad said.

It is important to reach young people at critical stage in their lives because many are at risk of not completing their education and being adequately prepared to face the world.

By the time they hit fourth grade, 86 percent of African American boys and 82 percent of Hispanic and Native American boys are reading below proficiency levels — compared to 58 percent of white fourth graders reading below proficiency levels, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2013 Reading Assessments.

That is one of the reasons why on February 27th, the President Obama held a press conference declaring the plight of young men and boys “of color” an issue of national importance.

My Brother’s Keeper – is the new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead.

For decades, opportunity has lagged behind for boys and young men of color.  But across the country, communities are adopting approaches to help put these boys and young men on the path to success.

“He launched “My Brothers Keeper”, a national initiative designed to address the specific needs of Black and Latino males,” Muhammad said. “We applaud the president’s efforts.”

According to Muhammad, the summit will feature a powerful and inspiring opening session. Afterward, each participant will attend three powerful workshops and a keynote speaker addressing specific issues faced by Black males.