2001-02-24 / Front Page

The Black Community In the 21st Century Forum Sponsored Today By Wave, StylesComMedia

The Black Community In the 21st Century
Forum Sponsored Today By Wave, StylesComMedia

The Wave, in conjunction with StylesComMedia, will host a forum today, Saturday, February 24, addressing issues of importance to the Black community. The forum, to be held at Far Rockaway High School, 821 Bay 25 Street, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., will promote dialogue on a range of topics.

The forum, entitled "The Black Community in the New Millennium: Issues, Challenges, Problems and Solutions," will open the doors of discussion on such subjects as culture, art, politics, religion/spirituality, media, economics, education, cross cultural relationships (Caribbean and African-American), language, alternative lifestyles (gay, thug life, hip hop), and issues of skin color and class.

Panelists that will lead the afternoon dialogue session include Viola Akers, second vice president, Community Board 14; Leonard Myers, chairman, African-American Culture and Education Committee at the African-American Museum in Hempstead; David Hooks jr., Far Rockaway community activist; Bernard Gassaway, principal, Beach Channel High School; Bishop Ruben Mitchell, pastor, Jesus Family Ministries, Far Rockaway; James Sanders jr., first vice president, Community School Board 27; and Curtis Archer, executive director, Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation.

The moderators of the forum will be Timothy Aaron-Styles, president of StylesComMedia, a diverse media, communications and entertainment company, and Wave Managing Editor John McLoughlin.

"The process and the content will be different from the normal town hall meeting," Styles said. "When was the last time Black folks got together in public and seriously discussed issues like relationships between men and women or between groups like African-Americans, immigrant Africans and Caribbeans, the impact of slavery on the present state of affairs of Black people, the need for Black cultural institutions to preserve and perpetuate our identity and history or discovering and nurturing Black genius?"

Styles added, "I remember growing up as a teenager we used to get together in people’s homes and apartments and have serious and deep conversations among ourselves or with our friends’ parents. As a matter of fact, a lot of what I learned was from my friends’ parents and Black men and women. I never forgot. In Rockaway, the village think thank used to be places like Ernest Stephen barbershop. As a matter of fact, my work in jazz radio, as an adult, was influenced by conversations, during my teenage years, with people like Barbara Johnson’s stepfather, Bobby. Mrs. (Patricia) Lloyd was another one I can remember who departed wisdom to us. There were so, so many. So it’s not like the knowledge doesn’t exist in the community. It does. We just need real opportunities to come together and share like we used to."

This unprecedented forum in the Far Rockaway community will do just that...share information and knowledge, open the lines of communication, and provide a framework for addressing issues, challenges, and problems facing the Black community in the new millennium.

The forum will be organized in a way that will allow a flow of conversation between the moderators, panelists and audience.

"The Wave is proud to co-sponsor this community forum with Timothy Aaron-Styles," McLoughlin said. ‘It’s important to encourage dialogue on issues. It’s important to give all residents of the peninsula an opportunity to engage in conversation and have their voices heard. But, it can’t just be about talk. We have to follow through, as a community. That is the true effectiveness of such a forum."

The community is urged to attend this forum today, Saturday, February 24 at 3 p.m.

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