MILWAUKEE _ Approximately 2,000 middle and high school students will arrive on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus Wednesday, Dec. 13, and Thursday, Dec. 14, for the fifth annual Summit on Black Male Youth. This year’s summit, titled “Black Boys Thriving: Re-imagining the Narrative,” will run from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. each day in the UWM Student Union, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd., with middle school students attending on Wednesday and high school students on Thursday.
The summit brings together middle and high school students, parents, mentors and administrators from Milwaukee and surrounding communities to examine issues facing young African-American men and to identify approaches to academic and personal success.
Interactive workshops and activities will focus on topics such as planning for the future, college and career readiness, handling finances, conflict resolution, entrepreneurship and maneuvering the blue/black line.
“Every year we have new young men and a number who have been here before and want to return,” said Gary Williams, director of UWM’s Black Cultural Center, who started the summit in 2012. “We have many school counselors, teachers and administrators who bring students year after year.”
The goal of the summit is to help young black men keep their lives on track for a positive future in spite of sometimes challenging circumstances, said Williams. “We need to expose these kids to opportunities and talk with them about their own development and role in the community,” he said. “We want to talk to them about opportunities beyond high school and middle school, have them looking at the next steps.”
The summit has grown over the years, with groups coming from Madison, Kenosha, Racine and Wheaton, Ill., this year as well as from the Milwaukee area. Speakers and workshop leaders come from both UWM and the community.
This year’s sponsors include Wells Fargo Bank, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Social Development Commission, Wisconsin Community Services, Milwaukee County Office on African American Affairs, the City of Milwaukee’s Office on Violence Prevention and the city’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.
Recognized as one of the nation’s 115 top research universities, UW-Milwaukee provides a world-class education to 25,000 students from 91 countries on a budget of $653 million. Its 14 schools and colleges include Wisconsin’s only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences and public health, and it is a leading educator of nurses and teachers. UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, offer student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2018 “Best Midwestern” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews, and the Sierra Club has recognized it as Wisconsin’s leading sustainable university.