On Thursday, February 21, 2019 DonCARES & Strong Men Overcoming Obstacles Through Hard work, hosted the second annual Temple Black Men's Forum. The purpose of our second annual Temple's Black Men Forum is to foster a supportive atmosphere of brotherhood among the black male community on campus. We are concerned with the political, social, and cultural issues regarding black men and women on Temple University’s campus and beyond, and we promote greater awareness and understanding of these issues through all appropriate means, including panel discussions, meetings, seminars, and active engagement with the community.
Among the panelists was Anthony Cobb, Mark Beckham, Kevin Jackson, Narayan Felix, and Davone McCord. Mr. Cobb is an astute individual and senior at Temple University. He will also graduate from Temple University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in May. Mark Beckham the Founder and CEO of Enlighten Visions Management, shared the perspective that many youth growing up in North Philadelphia have of Temple. Mr. Beckham grew up in Richard Allen Projects and shared how important it is for young kids to see positive black male representation primarily from Temple in their neighborhood.
Russell Davis, also from North Philadelphia, spoke on his perspective from his troubled neighborhood to Temple and beyond. Mr. Davis is will graduate from Temple University in May and is currently the youngest member of The Philadelphia Mayor's Commission on African American Males. Passionate about music and serving his community, he finds poetry to be his solace in hard times. "There have been times when I had to starve, to pay my bills. Although, it's been tough I can't wait to find some stability after years of hard work." Mr. Davis said.
Kevin Jackson, a junior transfer, member of SMOOTH and DonCARES dropped knowledge about how gaining an education at Temple and being part of supportive organizations with a passion for service have reminded him of his privilege. As a black male, Kevin recognized the power of education and pouring into our youth. "When I was younger, I was in a class full of white faces. When our teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we got older, I said an engineer. My teacher looked at me said: I would never be an engineer. Years later, I met a bunch of distant family members, and guess what they all were? Engineers." Mr. Jackson is on a five-year track to get his Bachelor's and Masters in Engineering. In addition, he is grateful to receive a full scholarship to support him in his endeavors.
Davone McCord is a former Temple Student, real estate agent, and Founder of Vaughn Clothing. Originally from Brooklyn, New York Mr. McCord is no stranger to hardship. Growing up in low-income housing and losing his brother to senseless gun violence during his first year of college, Davone decided to try his luck at becoming an entrepreneur. Successful in his endeavor, Vaughn clothing has successfully held fashion shows at Atlantic City Fashion Week and in Philadelphia.
Naryan Felix is also a member of SMOOTH and a passionate social justice advocate. As a Global Studies Major, Mr. Felix is a Research Assistant at Charles Blockson Afro-American. A junior in the class of 2021, Naryan is also very active on campus as a member of The Society of Emerging African Leaders.
Organized by DonCARES Founder & Executive Director, Donovan Forrest, the forum seeks to address the issues and create solutions to those that affect men of color at Temple and in primarily Predominately White Institutions. When asked the importance of such discussions, Forrest responded: "Change no m
atter the size is imminent. We are one conversation, connection, and catalyst from small or large institutional change. As important it is for black men to work together, we need to start by showing up. When black men show up, that is where change can manifest."