100 Black Men of PGC, Inc. holds 5th annual community brunch
Encouraging local residents, business owners and community stakeholders to raise money to help support African-American youth and young adults, 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County Inc. (BMPGC) held its 5th annual community brunch on April 16 at the Martin’s Camelot in Upper Marlboro.
The event was emceed by Shomari Stone from NBC Washington’s News 4 station and Michel Wright, radio personality for Majic 102.3 FM.
“As a reporter here in the D.C. area, I’m often called to the scenes of violence and crime incidents involving youths in our community, particularly young black men,” Stone said. “In examining the number of risk factors that are contributing to making our youths more vulnerable to victimization, lack of positive mentors, leadership and a strong foundation are leading
influences. This is why 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County and their mentoring programs are a vital foundation to our community.”
Wright said the group is not only important, but also necessary because there will be “a lot of responsibility placed upon the shoulders of our boys, our boys to men,” she said.
“We must find productive ways to engage our youth and provide promising paths for their futures,” said Wright.
The 100 BMPGC is an organization that strives to provide caring and transformative leadership and mentoring guidance that encourages, engages and challenges African-American youth and young adults to exceed their personal expectations. With four core programmatic initiatives based on mentoring, education, health and wellness as well as economic empowerment, these focus areas are designed to help youth realize their potential while inspIring their families and members from the communities in which they live, according to the 100 BMPGC website.
“Today’s event is to celebrate what we are doing in Prince George’s County which is mentoring, giving back to the community, making a difference in the community through our four programs,” said Tramaine L. Crawford, vice president of mentoring for 100 BMPGC . “What we’re asking the community today is to help support our programs either with their time or with their money because we need community support to do the work that we’re doing.”
Crawford said he’s excited that so many people showed up at the brunch to pledge their time and resources to help 100 BMP- GC accomplish its good deeds, including its new Silicon100 initiative.
Silicon100 is a three-part program geared toward preparing young adults for the digital economy. The program will involve connecting every family to free or low-cost high-speed internet service; conducting six, nine-week coding bootcamps to help train youth in gateway computer languages like Ruby and Unity so they can create either an app or a game; and also partnering with various organizations to provide six rigorous entrepreneurship bootcamps for youth to teach them how to create a business model around those digital products, according to a Silicon100 fact sheet.
Crawford said business and technology is very important because technology “is what kids are using now” and will be a required skill to have upon entering the workforce. The Silicon100 initiative is going to encourage young people to become not just users of technology, but also technological entrepreneurs, he said.
“What we’re going to do is connect our young people to the Internet, teach them how to code and we’re going to also teach them how to compete with other young people around the country,” Crawford said.
Francis Scott Elementary School fifth grader Earl Halle, 10, received Sili- con100’s first-ever scholarship award.
“He received a computer and one-year internet access through a partner organization we have,” said 100 BMPGC mentor Musa Eubanks.
Eubanks, whose day job is director of the county’s government community relations office, said mentoring isn’t something people do professionally and there is no handbook for it. “You just go” with it, he said.
“A lot of these kids don’t have strong male influences, their dads are in prison or they don’t even know their fathers,” he said. “So just being there is enough for these kids.”
The keynote address at the brunch was given by Randal Pinkett, fourth season winner of NBC’s reality show, “The Apprentice.” Pinkett is the co-founder, president and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm that works with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, according to his website.
Pinkett — who holds five degrees in economic development and information technology — focused his speech on the theme of business and technology, specifically the importance of recognizing the two as trends for having a competitive mindset in the 21st century. He said the job market has become significantly tighter and more competitive, so much so that even the youth are competing on a “global stage” now more than ever before.
“We are living in some very challenging economic times. We know this, we’ve seen it firsthand,” Pinkett said. “Jobs that were once the providence of this country have now gone overseas and many of them are not coming back. We are not competing for jobs with our neighbors and nearby communities or nearby counties, or even nearby states. Our youth are competing for jobs with our not so nearby neighbors in India, in China, in Brazil and across the entire globe. With increasing frequency, we are all being asked to do more with less. Those young people who can do more with less will be more competitive in the 21st century.”
In terms of technology, Pinkett said those who are able to keep pace in a fast and constantly evolving society will get ahead and be competitive in the 21st century. Young people in today’s society are in the midst of a new era with new challenges, which brings forth new opportunities and thus, requires new mindsets to process the world they live in, according to Pinkett.
For Pinkett, entrepreneurship is “not just something you do, it’s a way that you think.” He said that mindset has to be defined for young people.
“We are living in an increasingly technological society. That’s why we have Silicon100 in deference to that dynamic,” he said. “The implication that technology has for our young people is that technology has fueled a society in a world that we live in that I describe as hyper accelerated change. … In reaction to a challenging economy or limited resources, our young people must embody what I call and others call ‘the entrepreneur’s mindset.’ … The guiding compass for them has got to be their passion – that intersection of what you love to do, your passion and what you’re able to do, your gifts. That intersection that leads you to your destiny.”
The event also featured five award presentations. The Rev. Marcellus A. Buckner, senior pastor of Marlboro Meadows Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro, received the Presidential Community Culture Award; Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Jim Coleman received the Community Economic Empowerment Award; Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Chairwoman Elizabeth Hewlett received the Wayne K. Curry Visionary Leadership Award; 100 BMPGC Treasurer Michael Lanier received the organization’s 2016 Unsung Hero Award; and the Sheila Stewart Community Service Award went to Jennifer Jones, founder of the Prince George’s County Women’s Legislative Conference who is also chairwoman of the Commission for Women.
Randal Pinkett, fourth season winner of NBC’s reality show, “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump, gives the keynote address during the 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County Inc.’s fifth annual community brunch on April 16 at the Martin’s Camelot in Upper Marlboro. Pinkett is the co-founder, president and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm that works with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. He holds five degrees in economic development and information technology.