Saturday, February 25, 2006

BASE Awareness..15 years later by Akindele Akinyemi

It is very rare that I witness the evolution of young black boys into men. Our young men will fall, stumble and fall again until they realize that they have to make a choice to stop falling and stay on their feet.

We should be thanking the Black Awareness Society for Education (BASE) at the University of Detroit Jesuit and Academy in Detroit, MI for providing leadership among young African American males in the community for the past 15 years.

If you never heard of BASE it was desgined to enhance Black Awareness at U-D High. Were talking about 14-18 year olds enhancing leadership that was rarely seen in the early 90s. The other group that co-existed was Renaissance Afrikan Perspective at Renaissance High School in the early 90s as well. Both organizations aim was uplifting Black awareness to their peer group and community activism.

I remember attending Mumford High School in 1991 when BASE was created at U-D High. Even though I didn't help set up the initial organization itself I was a delegate from Mumford High School attending the first BASE conference in 1992. The schools that participated were U-D High, Reniassance, Mercy, Cranbrook and University Liggett.

15 years later they are still coming together.

It is good to see young Black men come together in peace and not war. There were brothers who were both conservative and liberal in their viewpoint, however, they still were able to get the job done with intelligent dialogue.

This year's guest speaker was Tyrone Winfrey, Sr. As you know Mr. Winfrey is currently working for the University of Michigan as well as a Detroit School Board member. His son, Tyrone, Jr. , is a senior at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. His son's energy and professionalism as a young Black man impressed me. He carried himself with class, something that is sorely lacking in most Black families today. More importantly, Tyrone, Sr. spoke on our purpose and challenged the students attending the conference, what is your purpose in life?

We can learn from our young men if we take the time to educate, love and nurture them.

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