Inaugural Weekend - Oakland, CA
On Friday, December 3rd 2010, a standing-room-only crowd of over 400 turned out for the inaugural gathering of A New Way Forward: Healing What's Hurting Black America. Attendees were moved by the inspirational testimony from both young people and adults about the critical need for Black mentors in our communities, and the even greater call for each of us to take the responsibility to heal ourselves.
The audience was introduced to the A New Way Forward (ANWF) manual - a beautifully illustrated guide, edited by Susan L. Taylor, which contains essays about wellness, healing and love by some of the finest minds in our nation. As the evening progressed, young people discussed the loneliness and isolation they feel in a world where adults too often are their critics but not their allies. In response, Susan issued a challenge to the audience to do more than talk about the problem; rather, make a commitment to our young by choosing to mentor. One hour a week is all most mentoring organizations require.
Following the opening evening, more than 120 community members and leaders from around the country retreated to the Santa Cruz mountains to engage in a process of radical healing––looking deeply at the areas of their lives that desperately needed loving attention. Those gathered examined relationships, wellness and spirituality. Deeply intimate and heartfelt presentations were offered by Louis Gossett, Jr., Revs. Marcia and Michael Eric Dyson, Dr. Therman Evans, Dr. Na'im Akbar, Rev Andriette Earl, Terrie Williams and many other brilliant scholars and activists. Participants laughed, prayed and cried together, shedding layers of pain to form a community of the committed, who are ready to transform not only themselves, but the young people in our village who are so desperately in need of role models and guides. Won't you join us?