2007-05-11 / Community

Male Empowerment Day At Frederick Douglass Academy

Left to right: Brian Smith, Ethan Smythe, Dexter Freeman, Dena Freeman, Parent Coordinator and Organizer, Councilman James Sanders Jr. and Curtis Turney Jr. Left to right: Brian Smith, Ethan Smythe, Dexter Freeman, Dena Freeman, Parent Coordinator and Organizer, Councilman James Sanders Jr. and Curtis Turney Jr. Influential men of the community joined male scholars from Frederick Douglass Academy VI for the school's first annual Male Empowerment Day on May 8.

On this historic day, the boys and men came together to discuss important issues. Guests of the day included Councilman James Sanders Jr.; Abdur Rahman of the Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc.; Dexter Freeman, retired Sergeant of the New York City Police Department; Brian Smith, an Emergency Medical Technician with the New York City Fire Department; Ethan Smythe, president of Stratosphere Studios in Brooklyn; and Curtis Turney III, parent and Far Rockaway resident.

"Initially, we were all somewhat hesitant because we didn't know what to expect, but immediately our fears were washed away because of the way the speakers grabbed and held our attention from the beginning to the end," said sophomore Jerome Quijano.

Another treat included a visit from Beach Channel High School students, escorted by staff member Osei Akoto, who also shared his stories with the young men.

Osei Akoto, staff member at Beach Channel High School, with Conrad Davis, head of the Frederick Douglas Academy VI Student Congress, and several Beach Channel High School students. Osei Akoto, staff member at Beach Channel High School, with Conrad Davis, head of the Frederick Douglas Academy VI Student Congress, and several Beach Channel High School students. "It was inspirational to listen to the trials and tribulations of the speakers. They ranged from a teen father to a Vietnam veteran, who all underwent obstacles to achieve the lives that they live now. This day will forever serve as one of the most memorable days of my life," added freshman Omari Cole.

Frederick Douglass VI parent coordinator, Dena Freeman said, "Today was a beautiful day. Hopefully it afforded an opportunity for our young men to forge a positive, lasting relationship with someone who will forever be a part of their lives. It's so exciting, that I am ready to begin planning for Male Empowerment 2008!"

Freeman and Sanders working together at the Male Empowerment Day at the Frederick Douglass Academy VI, located in Far Rockaway. Freeman and Sanders working together at the Male Empowerment Day at the Frederick Douglass Academy VI, located in Far Rockaway. Students engaged in Turney's presentation. Students engaged in Turney's presentation. Abdur Rahman has the scholar's undivided attention. Abdur Rahman has the scholar's undivided attention.

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