Changing the narrative

by | Feb 20, 2017

The mainstream perception of African American males was the focus of a critical issues symposium that attracted 500 people to UMSL on Feb. 17.

Critical issues symposium

The mainstream perception of African American males was the focus of a critical issues symposium that attracted 500 people, including about 200 local youth, to the University of Missouri–St. Louis Feb. 17.

Symposium crowdHosted by the UMSL School of Social Work with sponsors including the Deaconess Foundation, YMCA, UMSL’s Office of Admissions and the Social Work Alumni Network, the symposium’s speakers talked about positive personal experiences that were different than those found in most news stories.

“The negativity embedded within the existing narrative warrants attention,” social work Dean Sharon Johnson said. “We’re seeking to start a conversation among academics, service providers and youth that rewrites the narrative by presenting positive images of African American males and sheds light on their personal journeys and accomplishments.”

Pictured at the podium is Dr. Otha Myles, an infectious disease physician who founded the Brother 2 Brother initiative. (Photos by August Jennewein)

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Bob Samples

Bob Samples

Bob Samples is associate vice chancellor for university communications at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
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