The first full day of the 38th Annual Conference for the 100 Black Men of America delivered morning fitness, multi-generational sessions, hands-on workshops and panel discussions about challenging issues that kept four generations of African American leaders busy.

Thursday, June 13, 2024,  started with a dynamic opening ceremony It recognized the thread of leadership that began with the generation known as “Baby Boomers” and continues with representatives from “Generation Z.”

Inventorformer NASA scientist and a member of the 100 Black Men of America’s Atlanta, GA chapter, Lonnie Johnson told the audience about truths that aren’t always self-evident.

“My generation experienced the Civil Rights Movement,” he said. “I remember when Governor George Wallace stood in the door at the University of Alabama and said no Black students would ever attend.”

Dr. Mark Hudson, from the Virginia Peninsula Chapter,  was the representative for “Generation X.”

Two millennials, Chris Scott, Emerging 100 Atlanta chapter and Reggie Davis, Emerging 100 Houston chapter shared their views.

“My generation is known as digital workers who fully embrace the gig economy, smartphones, social media and streaming platforms.”

“We built on previous generations protesting for civil rights, with digital activism, online advocating, and   social media campaigns, like those instrumental in the election of President Barack Obama.”

Kerry Singleton, Jr. explained how members of “Generation Z” consider living life and operating at the highest level as the norm.  

“Since we use tech for everything, some say our brains are being rewired.  All I know is that tech served us all well during the global pandemic.  I imagine using new technologies like AI for doing good.  I’m imagining GenZ’s being a part of infusing technology into all aspects of the 100’s mentoring program.” 

Those powerful presentations were followed by keynote speaker Frans Johansson  who explained the concepts of the conference’s theme, “Future-Proofing Our Youth, Members and Communities.” This kick off event was emceed by award winning journalist Karyn Greer, Anchor, WSB-TV.  

Then the day became a whirlwind of information dissemination. What made it effective was the fact that conference organizers separated sessions to appeal to all the age categories represented in the Opening Session that ranged from middle and high school to college aged students.

A morning workshop for high school students taught teens how to do more than just consume internet content.  “Harnessing Social Media for Positive Impact and Influence” showed them ways to control the narration about colorism, unrealistic beauty standards and hyper-sexualization.  The 2024 Mentee of the Year, Kamahl Grant, a Collegiate 100 Member from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA moderated the panel. Model Akili Yasmine; small business owner, Kennedi Harris; 14-year-old financial literacy expert, Caden Harris, entrepreneur, and Shania Muhummad, the youngest teacher in the U.S. were panelists.  The afternoon session for that age group offered two Wells Fargo “Hands on BankingÒ Experience workshops.

Middle school mentees also had workshops geared to the realities of their lives. Strong4Life – Simple Tricks to Cope with the Stress of School, Adults and Life was moderated by Schnavia Bronson, Mental Health Therapist questioned panelists Christy Robinson, Founding Executive Director, Cr8tive Lyfe, Safia Khan, Yoga Pilates Instructor, Joelle Bronson, 100 Mentee, and Madison Singleton Entrepreneur Nosidam Marketing, LLCPre-teens also learned more about money management in Wells Fargo “Hands on BankingÒ Experience” workshop.

A session that explored topics on finance such as “Empowering Black Families through Wealth Accumulation & Transference” was well attended. Experienced panelists such as LaRese Purnell, Board Member and Managing Partner at CLE;  Alicia Dunlap, Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor,  Bank of America;  Jesse Walton, Jr., Executive Director, Morgan Stanley;  Olivia Smith, Founder and Partner, SR Law Group; John Ripoll,  Senior Financial Advisor, Wells Fargo, and Marcus Alford, Growth and Development Director, Northwestern Mutual answered questions from moderator Jennifer Streaks, a senior financial reporter from “Business Insider.”   

Adults explored other aspects of how to future-proof their lives by attending workshops on “Mojo Makeover.”  Attendees had a choice of attending one of three “Sensory Rooms.” The “Heal & Restore” workshop taught them how to prioritize movement throughout the day and reduce the risk factors tied to chronic diseases.  A second room allowed participants to “Sip & Savor.” This session, hosted by Ryan “Chef Wood” Givens, Celebrity Chef incorporated a cooking demonstration using plant-based foods.  The third mojo room was called the “Zen Sanctuary.”  Dr. Mark Armstrong, Founder and Director,  Ahimki Center for Wholeness, Inc. showed everyone there how to destress themselves through touch and thoughts.  

One of the highlights took place in the middle of the day. The Salute to Youth Luncheon showcased a wealth of talent and future trailblazers.  All attendees came together for that event, which was skillfully emceed by Collegiate 100 (Howard University) student, Kyla Warman.  Everyone on the program epitomized individuals who are fortifying themselves for the future. From the emcee to the 2024 graduates of the 100 Leadership Institute,  these participants stood as beacons of hope for the future.    

The two young men who received the 2024 designation of the Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. Mentee of the year were shining examples of how mentoring changes lives.  Kamahl Grant from the Atlanta chapter and Braedon George of Metro Baton Rouge, LA earned that top honor.  The two members who earned the Thomas W. Dortch Mentor of the Year Award are Emanuel Scarbrough from the Madison, WI chapter and David Bowers from Greater Washington D.C. 

A 100 signature event for men took place immediately following the Opening Ceremony.  Barbershop Forum: Healing the Invisible Ache Among Black Men, the forum examined  down stigmas and barriers to mental health support. With a goal of raising awareness and empowering advocates for mental health equity, the session also offered pathways to healing. 

The signature panel for women tackled the topic of self-love.  “A Beauty Shop Forum: Falling in Love with Our Natural Beauty” spent 90 minutes empowering Black women learn how to challenge Euro-centric norms.   

The  day ended with a President’s Roundtable, a Youth Party and Gaming Tournament and the Inaugural 100 Business Summit, accompanied by an evening reception.  

#100blackmen #futureproofing #conference #celebrate 

Share this post

Media Contact
Telain Ware
100 Black Men of America, Inc.
[email protected]