Most high school and college students spend their Saturday mornings at places other than a college campus. But as California State University, Northridge celebrated its first Black Youth Guidance Forum on Feb. 13, students of all ages gathered at the University Student Union to learn about ways to pursue their higher education goals as members of the African-American community.
The Black Youth Guidance Forum invited students, parents, teachers and advocates of community involvement to participate in workshops and keynote speeches. The day-long leadership program supported educational and cultural pursuits for K-12 graders, parents and educators.
“It’s important to bring the community to the campus — especially students in K-12, as they envision and think about their possible selves in terms of secondary education,” said Cedric Hackett, director of the W.E.B. DuBois-Fannie Lou Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement and organizer of the forum.
One of the highlights of the event was morning keynote speaker Troy Vaughn, senior pastor and CEO of Christ-Centered Ministries, who is an active supporter of multiple nonprofit organizations that help disadvantaged communities contribute to society in meaningful ways.
“No matter if you’re black, Asian, Hispanic — everybody contributes to the environment and community. Everybody matters,” he said. “We all need one another to be better as a society.”
Vaughn advocated an atmosphere of inclusion for people from all races and backgrounds. He stressed the importance of teaching community involvement in schools, to raise awareness about the importance of every individual contributing to society.
“A child from a broken home can get back into the system,” he said. “We need to put an infrastructure around [disadvantaged people], to help them be successful instead of abandoning them.”
Mychel Scott, a CSUN student and volunteer for the Black Youth Guidance Forum, said it is important for young students from the black community to receive inspiration from older members of the community and share ideas about the future of education. The sophomore in Africana studies said she was happy that so many CSUN students participated in the event, to encourage a dialogue between generations.
“The young people can share their perspectives with the older generation and vice versa,” she said. “I’m excited that so many students are attending. College students could do anything else on a Saturday morning, but they’ve decided to come here.”
“I want folks to be empowered, to have racial pride and believe in themselves,” Hackett said. “It’s really about self-advocacy and looking at that healthy balance of challenges and support of the advocates’ parents, and also some of the leaders who inspire the minds of youth.”
The event was part of CSUN’s Black History Month celebration and organized by the university’s DuBois-Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement and the Department of Africana Studies.
For more information on Black History Month, visit http://www.csun.edu/dubois-hamer-institute-for-academic-achievement/news/black-history-month-csun.