Article submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards and Pictures submitted by Bro. Michael Harris
Richmond, VA. Saturday, January 10th, 2015, at the Richmond Police Academy. The Brothers of Upsilon Nu Chapter hosted the “Shaping Our Future: Building a Better Tomorrow by Working Together Today”.
Under the guidance of Brother Gregory A. Parham, this program was designed to reach out to young men ages 12 to 21, their Fathers and Guardians. Upsilon Nu chapter assembled an impressive panel (Lt. William Blackwell, Attorney Vincent Robertson, Attorney Tony Pham, CSM Terry E. Parham, A. Mallory Brownlee – Educator, Xavia Gary - JMU Student & Gun Violence Survivor, Ty White - VHSL State Champion 2014 (John Marshall H. S.) and Rev. Dexter Cannon). Panel members included law enforcement, attorneys, pastors, military leaders, coaches, and educators.
The youth were giving the opportunity to speak of some of their experiences with law enforcement and in some cases how it could have gone better. “By bringing in experts to share their time, to be unselfish with their time, hopefully we’re able to plant seeds in these young people to cause a better tomorrow,” said event organizer Gregory A. Parham. It’s a process, one step at a time we want to get these young men’s attention and that of their friends as well. We stress to the young men that they have friends looking at them and they can influence other without even being aware of it. We let them know that doing the ‘right thing’ can also be cool and they don’t have to run with the crowd.
Bro. Parham stressed, that events like the one held today will pay off in the future. Young men, ages 12 to 21, were invited to be a part of a panel discussion about appropriate ways to interact with those in authority roles. Bro. Parham also stated that ‘respect” is a key component that is missing from the conversation when we discuss tension between authority and youth/young adults. What we want those in attendance to take-away from the event is that everyone should think about their roles in society and how interactions with authority impacts consequences delivered.
More than 130 people guests attended the event. Feedback indicated this program is needed and welcomed. Upsilon Nu Chapter will work collaboratively with community resources and leaders to offer this program several times throughout 2015.