MIDWEST CITY - Rose State College hosted its first Black Male Initiative Summit on March 7th, 2017 with more than fifty people in attendance. Several local middle and high schools brought students to participate in the four-hour long event. The sessions were dedicated to giving Black males the opportunity to discuss their need for healthy male role models, higher education, and leadership within the community.
The Black Male Initiative Summit (BMIS) was introduced by Trey Jay, a new student to Rose State. “I noticed a lot of African American males in my community weren’t continuing on with their education because of a lack of funding,” stated Trey Jay. “In some cases the reason education was not a priority was because they did not have role models and grew up in fatherless homes.” Jay hopes the summit helped other African American males by guiding them on how to be a leader, on becoming a man, and providing support for resources to further their education.
Rose State’s Graduation, Retention, Advocacy and Diversity Center (G.R.A.D. Center), along with the Office of Degree Completion and Student Retention helped plan the event. This provided an opportunity for the G.R.A.D. Center to roll out its new African American Male Mentorship Program set to kick off in fall 2017. Erica Alvarez, Director of G.R.A.D. Center expects the program will help increase the retention of African American students who currently hold a 6% graduation rate at Rose State.
Jabar Shumate, Vice President for the University of Community at the University of Oklahoma contributed to the event with comments and committed to build a mentoring pipeline for those students transferring between Rose State and OU.
Other notable speakers at Rose State’s Black Male Initiative Summit included: Dezz Lewis, Langston University; Captain Ron Bacy, Oklahoma City Police Department; Jonathon Solomon, Assistant Dean of Students at Oklahoma Baptist University; Senator Anastasia Pittman; and former state representative Mike Shelton.