100 Black Men of PGC, Inc. holds 5th an­nual com­mu­nity brunch

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES

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.

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