Morgan Professor Organizes Empowerment Conference for Black Men

The MSU Spokesman

danielsDr. Kevin Daniels, a social work professor at Morgan State University and pastor of St. Martin Church of Christ in Baltimore, has a love and passion for the black community that resonates in every word he speaks. He’s not quite “old school” but he understands the older generation and the younger one, with a respect for both past and present. Bringing the two generations together for a knowledge exchange was part of the thinking behind this fall’s Black Men Matter II conference at Morgan.

In 2008, former State Senator Larry Young decided that Baltimore needed to focus on the needs of African American men in Baltimore. Thus, Black Men Matter I was born. Five years later, in 2013 Black Men Matter II was created with an additional component, to bring it to the university.

Daniels said he wanted to “include the university in this community effort” and arranged for the conference to take place at the campus Student Center. Aside from providing basic, useful information about things like finances and mental health treatment, Daniels sees the conference as a place for black men to “come together and develop strategic action plans.” He had a driving question: “How are we going to do something and move forward?”

Another new part of this year’s conference was a research component, giving information to the school and the community about what black men are facing in the United States.

“Today, the context that I have for brotherhood is how the heads of these campus organizations, the X Assembly, S.M.O.O.T.H, Morgan’s fraternities and Collegiate 100 were able to come to me,” said Daniels. “I was able to sit and talk with them as it relates to what are the needs of African-American males on this campus and for them to say ‘we want this. We want a black male conference. We want more of that.’”

The scope of Black Men Matter II stretches beyond the October event with things like a long-term mentoring program. In this case, Morgan college students from various campus organizations travel to a Baltimore high school and mentor at-risk teens.

With the conference only recently concluded, there were already plans for a follow-up conference in April.