In a nod to April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, The Positive Results Corporation (PRC) held its Promoting Healthy Manhood Conference on April 7, to highlight domestic violence and sexual assault prevention.
The event aimed to educate men and boys of color about the devastating and often life-long effects of bullying, teen dating/interpersonal violence, and sexual assault.
PRC Executive Director Kandee Lewis partnered with Pastor Kelvin Sauls and Holman United Methodist Church to present the program, which featured guest speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions. The topics ranged from “Male Victims of Intimate Partner Violence” and “Perseverance = Success” to “Living and Loving Abusive Partners” and “Mentoring Men of Color.”
“I put this forum together because there are not a lot of safe spaces for men to have discussions about how they have been physically, emotionally and sexually abused and how that turns into further anger and they continue the abuse,” said Lewis. “We want to stop that cycle of abuse but we can’t stop it until we have a honest discussion about it.”
Offering his point of view, Sauls said the conference was an opportunity “to engage in reclamation, restoration and transformation.”
“Reclamation means to reclaim men as men of peace who can facilitate right relationships,” explained Sauls. “Restoration is to let our boys and men know that in life you’re going to make mistakes, but we don’t have to let our mistakes define us. We then come together to see how we can transform ourselves, our families, our communities and indeed, this nation and make a positive difference in the lives of young people and our community.”
Exemplifying a transformed life, award-winning writer and author Antwone Fisher emphasized a comparable message to the 200+ boys and men in attendance.
“You have to make good rules for yourself early – no drugs, drinking, smoking – because doing those things in your young life will cut your life short. If you do something in your teens, it will come to haunt you in your 30s,” said Fisher, who shared the story of his friend that used cocaine as a teen and developed congenital heart failure as young adult.
“So this is the warning. When you’re young, you’re in a safe zone so don’t start doing things,” added Fisher.
Several local advocates participated in the Promoting Healthy Manhood Conference. The presenters included Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, L.A. County Fire Captain Brent Burton, youth survivor Bishop Rhone, Stop the Violence founder Khalid Shah, Alan-Michael Graves, Jaime “Rarebreed” Gregory, Jared Morgan, Karim Webb, Ryan Hollins and Skip Townsend.
Also, Bishop K. Donnell Smith, Sr., served as emcee, comedian J-Red delivered the entertainment and G. Catering provided breakfast and lunch.
To learn more, visit prc123.org.