UCO Black Male Summit

The University of Central Oklahoma will host the annual Black Male Summit March 24. This year, the summit will feature keynote speaker Etan Thomas, a former NBA player. Pictured, 2019 Black Male Summit attendees.

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host the sixth annual Black Male Summit Tuesday, March 24, in the Nigh University Center Ballrooms on Central’s campus. The event, now in its sixth year, encourages youth to pursue postsecondary education.

The theme for this year’s summit is “The Marathon Continues.” Inspired by the late rap artist Nipsey Hussle, the 2020 summit is designed to allow young black males to (re)discover their identity and reimagine their futures despite the cultural, political, and systemic barriers that they face in society, specifically within education.

This year’s keynote speaker is former NBA player Etan Thomas. Thomas has redefined himself as “The Activist Athlete” and defies the stereotype of the apolitical athlete, planting his roots in his formidable literary career, passion for mentoring and civic engagement. The summit also includes presentations and discussions on black male masculinity, community policing, the school-to-prison pipeline, higher education, hip-hop education, sports and social justice, voting and politics, and K-12 resources and education.

“UCO’s Black Male Summit provides such a transformative and immersive experience for young black males,” said Dene Roseburr-Olotu, assistant director for Diversity Retention Programs and UCO Black Male Summit coordinator.

“At its very core, the Black Male Summit is about empowering and uplifting this often-forgotten segment of our community. And every year Central plays a pivotal role by providing a welcoming space that allows more than 400 students to come together and engage in authentic conversations while emphasizing the importance of postsecondary education.”

The mission of the Black Male Summit is to address the historical, cultural and relevant challenges that affect the development of young, black males; build connections between UCO and public and private high schools across the state of Oklahoma; and, encourage the pursuit of obtaining a postsecondary degree. The Black Male Summit focuses on high school and college students who are committed to personal, academic and professional development.

This year, nearly $6,000 in scholarships will be awarded courtesy of diamond-level sponsors Perry Publishing and Broadcasting, CSAA Insurance Group an AAA insurer, UCO’s African American Faculty and Staff Association, UCO’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and UCO Campus Enterprises. Scholarship applications are due March 7 and winners will be announced the day of the event.

Registration for both high school and college students is currently open and closes March 7. For additional information visit www.uco.edu/blackmalesummit or contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 405-974-3588.

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