and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services are partnering for an event as part of the ‘Engaging Males of Color’ (EMOC) initiative, created to promote an enhanced awareness of the behavioral health challenges experienced by males of color across the Philadelphia region.
EMOC was envisioned by DBHIDS Commissioner Dr. Arthur C. Evans and will activate local males of color in order to help share effective coping strategies for self-care, strengthen support networks, and improve upon DBHIDS systems for African American males.
The initiative will host the first of a three part event series on July 31 with ‘BEyond Expectations,’ an opportunity for young men to tell powerful stories that address their unique challenges and social issues. The event will be held at Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
In the live storytelling show Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter of The Roots, DJ Rich Medina, Boxer Bernard Hopkins, and everyday males of color will perform personal stories that celebrate the lives and experiences of black males. Other confirmed storytellers include:
- Michael Green, a Rowan University counselor and Camden, NJ native who broke the cycle of violence after his single parent household suffered the loss of a child;
- Professor Gregory King, a Swarthmore University professor who will explore the shift of public perceptions based on changes as small as clothing choice;
- Christian Axavier Lovehall, a transgender individual experiencing the Black male perspective for the first time as an adult; and
- Russell Walker, a United States veteran who found that while enlistment offered a ‘way out,’ it came with new challenges, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Before the event, in a pre-reception from 7- 8 p.m., attendees can meet with Dr. Evans to gain a better understanding of the Engaging Males of Color initiative. Following the event, audience members can participate in a conversation about ways the City of Philadelphia can help promote health and wellness in the African American community.
The City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program is also partnering with DBHIDS for Building Brotherhood: Engaging Males Of Color, designed to highlight the urgent need for men and boys of color to lead healthier lives. Building Brotherhood is working with two muralists from Amber Art and Design Collective at three HUB sites – Congreso, Dixon House and PRO-ACT – in order to discuss pertinent issues of community wellness with males of color. These discussions will help to develop the first mural in the country dedicated to the lived experience of males of color.
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