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Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — April 24, 2013

(DALLAS) — Knowing that the dream of attending college and earning a degree is harder for African-American males has prompted a group of organizations in the north Texas area to meet, discuss and try to provide positive solutions to that problem. Knowing that approximately 52 percent of African-American males in the country graduate from high school, a rate lower than that of their ethnic counterparts, adds to that sense of urgency.

In response, the Dallas County Community College District is hosting the North Texas African American Male Summit on Saturday, April 27, on the Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College, located in south Dallas. The goal for the half-day event is to bring together a variety of groups whose members have been invited to share their ideas and provide suggestions about how to improve the number of male African-American students who complete high school and then pursue higher education and a college degree.

The program, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Hoblitzelle Auditorium of the El Centro/BJP campus at 1402 Corinth St., is sponsored by the Western Region of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, its Alpha Epsilon and Delta Mu Boules, and the B.A.A.R. Coalition (Building and Achieving Academic Readiness). Sigma Pi Phi is the nation’s oldest African-American Greek letter social fraternity, which includes more than 5,000 people in member Boules across the U.S. who mentor the next generation of African-American males. The B.A.A.R. Coalition includes community service leaders in the area who have worked successfully with youths in economically challenged pockets in north Texas — they represent education, business, nonprofits, civil service and the legal fields.

Partners for the summit include DCCCD, Project Still I Rise, Kappa League of Dallas, the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, DIOP of Friendship-West Baptist Church, the University of Texas at Dallas, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. – Xi Tau Lambda chapter, Mentor Brother-to-Brother, Aiming for the Stars Academic Bowl, the African American Male Research Initiative and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Leonard Moore, associate vice president of UT’s division of diversity and community engagement, will open the program at 10 a.m.; the event includes panels and discussions involving men from all walks of life. Summit attendees can attend a session at 10:50 a.m. titled “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight,” a college/adult men’s panel discussion hosted by Sigma Pi Phi; or Project Alpha for middle and high school students. The second session, scheduled at 11:30 a.m., will include a continuation of Project Alpha or a panel discussion titled “Effective Strategies for Mentoring Black Boys,” presented by the B.A.A.R. Coalition for college and adult men.

The program concludes with a 12:15 p.m. town hall discussion titled “Teached” by Kevin Mondy from the B.A.A.R. Coalition, followed by a panel discussion led by Moore and closing remarks by B.A.A.R. Coalition members Justin Henry and Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president of UT’s division of diversity and community engagement.

Leaders from several summit member institutions will welcome participants to the event: Dr. Moore and Dr. Vincent, UT division of diversity and community engagement; Curtez Kimble, B.A.A.R. Coalition; Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr., chancellor, DCCCD; Texas State Sen. Royce West; and Dr. Leodis Davis, Western Regional Sire Archon, Sigma Pi Phi.

The American Association of Community Colleges says, in addition to the 52-percent high school graduation rate, that African-American males are less likely to enroll in and complete college preparatory courses in high school; are over-represented in special education and developmental courses; are often suspended and/or expelled more frequently and for longer periods of time than other students; are less likely to receive college counseling and guidance in high school to adequately prepare them for college; often must enroll in remedial writing and mathematics (which places them at a distinct academic disadvantage); and are more likely to enroll in community colleges than four-year institutions (where they do not transfer or complete their degrees).

The U.S. Department of Education says that black men in higher education comprise barely 4 percent of all undergraduate students — the same proportion seen in 1976; are less prepared than their peers for college-level academic work; and have completion rates that are the lowest of all racial and ethnic groups in the country. However, the 2012 National Black Male College Achievement Study, issued by the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania (led by Shaun Harper), says the trend can change, especially when parents are involved and students have mentors and influential teachers who support them in high school and college.

For more information about the summit, contact David Robinson, coordinator of outreach for DCCCD, at (214) 378-1728, or call his cell phone, (214) 418-6189.

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