Contributed by Clinton L. Carbon, Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs
On the morning of April 11th, five D-E students and I boarded a school bus headed to Riverdale Country School for the Second Annual Young Men of Color Symposium entitled “iMatter: My Words, My Actions, My Life.” Symposium attendees included LeRoy Barr III ’20, Seon Layne ’16, Jalen Watson ’18, Naseer Wilson ’18 and Qadir Wilson ’20.
The symposium was a leadership conference for young men of color, grades 6-12, in independent schools in the New York City area. The day featured workshops and opportunities for participants to learn skills geared toward self-advocacy and academic achievement. The goal of the event was to create a collaborative community of schools serving young men of color. The symposium leadership wrote in their invitation to attend: “What our young men can be is often limited by stereotypes and prejudice, driven by comments like ‘You’re not Asian/Black/Latino/Middle Eastern/Native enough’ or ‘You’re not a real man.’ This year’s conference will address the complexities, similarities and differences that exist amongst our young men of color.”
Carlos Andres Gomez, an award winning poet, actor, speaker, and writer from NYC, was the keynote speaker and framed the day by highlighting the complexities and multiplicities that exist for each individual as he challenged and reimagined modern manhood for all who attended. Gomez stated, “The hope is… that men and boys might start to reconsider the way they want to be manly, what kind of men they want to be, when you start asking questions challenging the status quo for what it means to be a man; it forces men… to reconsider all these very destructive symptoms of patriarchy.”