Broward County is gearing up to host the 100 Black Men of America, Inc.’s 24th Annual Conference.
Themed “Mentoring the 100 Way Across A LifetimeSM,” the five-day national event is scheduled for June 16-20 at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, 3555 South Ocean Drive in Hollywood.
Members of all the 100 Black Men’s chapters across the nation will attend the event, according to Dennis Wright, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale chapter.
“The conference rotates annually throughout the different chapter cities,” he said. “And this is our first time in Fort Lauderdale.”
The conference will also host the 2010 Issues Summit, Black Agenda: From Crisis to Sustained Impact, a town hall forum on Saturday, June 19 with educators, elected officials and representatives from top African-American organizations. Panelists will include Operation HOPE founder John Hope Bryant, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and 100 Black Men of America Board Chairman Albert Dotson Jr.
“The panel serves as a part of the conference to continue the dialogue and to engage the people locally,” said Wright. “We need to address some of our issues and continue to empower the community.”
Other events include the African American History Challenge, Dollars and $ense Competition, a youth discussion on Thursday, June 17 about the current and future opportunities in technology with singer Trey Songz, a collegiate workshop, and a youth party featuring DJ Skilz.
“We want our young people to leave with a renewed sense of urgency regarding their personal progress and commitment to educational achievement,” Dotson said. “We also want them to recognize that they too have a responsibility to help their peers and those who are coming behind them in school to improve themselves as well.”
As many as 700 youth ages 9 through college age are expected to attend, Wright said.
Three conferences, addressing the youth, chapter members and guests are scheduled to run concurrently. The planned workshops, Wright said, are designed for each of these target audiences.
“We have been charged with addressing, nationally, The 4 for the Future,” Wright said.
“This includes mentoring, education, economic development and health and wellness.”
A non-profit civic- and community-based organization, 100 Black Men of America seeks to serve as a beacon of leadership by utilizing its members’ diverse talents to create environments in which black children are motivated to achieve. It also seeks to empower black people to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of the communities it serves.
“We try to pick locations based in part on our local leadership,” Dotson said of the organization’s decision to select the Greater Fort Lauderdale area to host the event.
The 100 Black Men, Dotson said, looks for cities with chapters that are strong in support, responsive to the black community, and where its members can have an impact on the city beyond the convention.
“And Fort Lauderdale met those objectives,” he said.
The conference will also provide the Greater Fort Lauderdale area and its businesses with an economic boost.
According to Albert Tucker, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s vice president of Multicultural Business Development, the city will gain in excess of $5 million.
“The actual hotel bill is about $1.2 million, plus the additional activities,” Tucker said.
The event, Wright said, is funded by corporate sponsors.
The 100 Black Men will also bring the conference into the community on Saturday, June 19 by hosting the 2010 Community Empowerment Project: Sistrunk Community Family & Friends Day.
The day’s events, at the Avenue of the Arts Executive Suites, 401 NW 7th Terr. in Fort Lauderdale from 3 — 5 p.m., will include health screenings provided by the Broward County Health Department, HIV/AIDS testing, health and nutrition talks, children’s activities and a farmers market.
“We always take our conference into the community,” Dotson said. “We feel that the community should be better off by virtue of the 100 convening in the city. Not just the hotel and those who do business with the hotel.”
Photo: Dennis Wright
IF YOU GO
WHAT: 100 Black Men of America, Inc.’s 24th Annual Conference
WHERE: Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, 3555 South Ocean Drive in Hollywood.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 16 through Sunday, June 20. The Youth Workshop: Digital Generation, The Future of Technology with Trey Songz will take place from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, June 17. The 2010 Issues Summit, Black Agenda: From Crisis to Sustained Impact featuring Charles Ogletree and James Clyburn will take place on Saturday, June 19 from 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.
COST: Five-day event passes: $595 for members, $690 for non-members. Day passes are $150. Scholarships are available.
CONTACT: For more information about the event, its workshop schedule, or to explore scholarship opportunities, call 954-519-0002 or visit www.100BlackMen.org.