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7th Annual Dolton 149 Male Youth Summit Draws 145 Students!!

The 7th annual "Male Youth Summit" organized by Dolton School District 149 drew 145 middle school students from the Calumet City-based district and praise from the south suburban district's top elected leader.

"These young men who participated in our annual summit are an inspiration and a confirmation that the future of our community and our country is bright," said Dolton 149 Board of Education President Darlene Gray Everett. "Future scientists, engineers, authors, judges, congressmen, and, perhaps a president of the United States were in the auditorium."

The 7th annual summit showcased the theme "The Brotherhood Chronicles."

The district's superintendent, Dr. Shelly Davis Jones, launched the March 26 event held in the school's gymnasium, and a welcoming address was delivered by the School of Fine Arts principal, Dellnora Winters.

There were 19 adult facilitators who hosted three break-out symposiums throughout the building: How to Conduct Yourself if Stopped by the Police and Know Your Constitutional Rights, What is the Successful Path to College and Career Readiness? and How to Address Conflict with Peers and Appropriate Use of Social Media.

Members of the Evergreen Park Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., which was founded at Indiana University in 1911, were among the facilitators who served on the symposiums' panels. The fraternity's Polemarch (i.e. President) Cary Holman also participated in the summit.

"The Evergreen Park Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity has supported the Male Youth Summit for the last seven consecutive years and they work hard to unite a culture of college men, patriotism, service for humanity and the bond of brotherhood," said Dr. Davis Jones. "I am grateful to be able to count on this prestigious organization of men to support the Board of Education's Vision on improving student learning for our young men."

"The company you keep is the company that you are judged by," said Rhomel Owens, a retired Chicago Police sergeant who spent 26 years on the force. "Additionally, the police are not out to get you. And you do not settle your disputes on the streets."

Cook County Judge Michael Brown echoed Owens' comments.

"Only 2 percent of young men who encounter the police have a violent experience, 98 percent do not," said Brown. "Your rights are not on the streets. You have rights to a lawyer and due process in court."

Nevertheless Richard Wills, a probation officer, told the young men that the law can be "unfair" to African-Americans.

"The law can be unfair, unfortunately for young black men," said Wills. "Don't get mad about it. Know how to put yourself in a situation where things don't happen unfairly. Who you hang with matters."

The participation of the mentors at the summit was hailed by the superintendent.

"We could not do this great work without professional men who are committed to serving as mentors and roles models," said Dr. Davis-Jones. "Thank you all for giving back to the community."