NAACP event explores status of education

Nimota Nasiru

The aroma of french toast in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union early Saturday morning greeted an audience of about 50 people during the NAACP-sponsored 10th Annual Men’s Networking Breakfast.

Emceed by Keeyon Carter, freshman in communication studies, the audience had a chance to learn more about themselves and the society around them from established black leaders in their respective fields.

The Ames branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sponsored this year’s breakfast, the theme of which was “recognizing my place in the world and effectively utilizing my space in time.”

George Jackson, assistant dean of the graduate college, created the event. The Black Men’s Breakfast, as it was originally named, was intended to establish a communication process for black men to share their experiences. However, as the years have progressed, the scope of the gathering has evolved to explore and discuss topics “which are of interest to the growth and development of the communities from which the men emerge.”

This year’s networking event started with an icebreaker in which everyone present stood and gave a brief introduction of themselves.

A wide range of people attended – ISU alumni in their 50s, students in middle and elementary school and members of the Ames community.

“The whole purpose of this breakfast is to improve the status of all men, black men in particular, and create a sense of unity and equality between different ethnicities and races,” said Krandon Henry, graduate student in interdisciplinary graduate studies.

Henry, who spent about a month organizing this year’s breakfast, included a diverse panel of speakers such as Milton McGriff, ISU alumnus, ex-Black Panther and author of the newly released novel “2236;” Abraham Funchess, administrator of the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans; and Anthony Jones, graduate student in educational leadership and policy studies. Henry had the chance to meet most of the speakers personally and felt they would be an asset to the event. Jones spoke about how blacks could achieve higher GPAs in his speech “Raising the GPA of the African-American male by closing the GAP.” He focused his speech on both higher education and the importance of sticking close to one’s faith and finding one’s self through spirituality.

“As we talk about men in education we have to deal with both – I believe that you can’t talk about the issues that concern me, unless you deal with both where we are, and who we are and whose we are,” Jones said.

Henry said he hoped this breakfast will “encourage the Ames community and students to become more involved and to meet with others in similar fields.”