We are grassroots activists, professionals, therapists, and a group of concerned brothers and sisters from all walks of life who have been active in our communities. With the support of organizations we belong to such as The Nation of Islam, Local Organizing Committees (Justice or Else), Young People in Action International, Center for Strong Families, The Winning Circle and more, our intention is not to duplicate existing efforts nor are we attempting to build a new organization. There are many, many conferences around the issue of strengthening the Black family representing many different perspectives---we don’t see this as a negative. In fact, the more we can gather in unity, the better. This Summit-Conference is a continuation of those conversations in the interest of building the movement and advancing a perspective and an approach which is not always deliberated and that is approaching our families and communities with an assets or strengths based model.
When needs assessments focus on community problems, weaknesses, or deficits it negatively defines the community and creates dependency which stagnates growth. By recognizing and affirming the best of who we are, and using an approach that builds upon our strengths, it puts us in a more powerful position that is not reactive but proactive. This approach also lessens dependency on programs and draws out the untapped gifts, talents, resources, and capacities that every individual and community inherently possesses thus building the community from the inside out.
This approach does not ignore the impacts of outside powers and influences. However, there is no outside power that can destroy us except to the extent that we are weak internally. Now more than ever with the increasing deadly blatant attacks on our families, we believe it is imperative that we come together based on a position of strength, regardless of our socio-political or religious backgrounds.
In addition, we believe it is imperative that we create avenues for dialogue among the Indigenous family and build operational unity socially, politically and economically because our struggles and triumphs intersect at every level.
Why a Summit-Conference? We are meeting over the highest point of importance, (next to worshiping God), and that is, the Family. Without Family, we have no power and indeed, we have no future. Why a Summit-Conference? A Summit is a gathering of leaders or people who care deeply about an issue or policy while a conference is a meeting of colleagues or people over one or several topics. We felt it necessary to begin the process of integrating both leaders and laypersons/families because the issues we face in our community are faced by both and the strengths based approach is a partnership that must be understood and agreed upon by both.
To present best practices to the issues facing our families and communities that lead beyond mere survival to thriving and building a new world using a strengths-based approach.
To share an approach to community building based upon the strengths and assets of the community as opposed to its deficits.
To support the objectives of the 10,000 Fearless by addressing those issues in the home that give rise to the violence in the streets among our people
To build upon the strengths of families and individuals and identify contributing tools for survival and coping mechanisms in this current socio-political and economic environment
To identify or develop political and economic structures and institutions that are not dependent on the current institutions to create a new world reality with viable establishments
To present best practices in addressing the Justice System and its effects on our family economy, mental health, relationships, and ability to protect our community
To share with participants tools for wealth and legacy building
Promote Inter-generational dialogue among youth and elders
Participants will have a basic understanding and increased knowledge of the following;
Assets Based Vs. Deficits Based Thinking and Approach
-as it relates to our approach with one another
-as it relates to our approach with family and community building
Increased tools and information on strengthening the family internally
A greater awareness of the impacts on our families and methods of addressing and overcoming them
We also expect participants to join in one or more follow up actions
FOLLOW UP ACTIONS
Host or participate in your Family Reunion within 2 years. Instead of a big party/celebration, commit to ensuring that there are at least 1-2 workshops or forums on an area that strengthens family. This could be; how the family can pool its resources for economic development; choosing a family asset/strength to develop; strategies to advance family members (i.e., putting young members through school, etc.)
Each member of each family look at one area where improvement can be made 1) individually 2) as a family.
The Planning group will work with other individuals and within the organizations we belong to develop a healthcare continuum of care for our most vulnerable, uninsured and under-insured. This system of care will be piloted in one city as a best practice/model that can be duplicated.
Our intention is to continue to work with existing organizations to strengthen our families and build a movement that values family. Additional Action Items will be added during the last day of the conference.
This event is presented by Healthy Relationships Initiative (HRI), The Winning Circle, Young People in Action International, and Center for Strong Families.
HRI, founded in 2004 by long-time activist Ati H. Cushmeer and former employee of the Fulton County Juvenile Court, has existed since 2004 as a volunteer based organization which has convened retreats, forums and workshops focused on marriage preparation and strengthening relationships among men and women, within families and the community.
The Winning Circle, our fiscal agent, was founded by former NFL player, Danny Buggs in 1988. This organization encourages youth to develop character, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-motivation, and self-determination through afterschool, academic and sport’s programs.
Young People in Action International, a leadership development program, was founded by Asad Shabazz in 1984. It has thrived in its mission to maintain a sustainable leadership movement of young people through the development of spiritual, social, educational, economic, and political competencies.
Center for Strong Families, Inc. is a non-profit organization offering therapy services with the sole purpose of strengthening the family. It was founded in 2015 by Janine Charise Muhammad of New York with the goal of healing our communities one family at a time. “We are not the light at the end of the tunnel, states Janine, “Center for Strong Families is the light IN the tunnel.”