Reaching out to at-risk young men
ICC counselor says some African-American males handicapping themselves
African-American males, who figure prominently among the nation’s high school dropouts and prison population, need to be saved from themselves, says Agbara Bryson, a counselor at Illinois Central College.
Bryson, who also teaches Overcoming Obstacles workshops at ICC, is presenting a forum Saturday to address what he calls “the phenomenon of self-handicapping behaviors or tripping over our own feet.”
What: Public forum to empower African-American males
When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday
Place: City of Refuge Worship Center
Contact: City of Refuge, 2201 SW Adams St., Peoria, or call 676-5645
“These are some of the issues that are not often addressed, and this is really a phenomenon,” Bryson said. “I want to look at some of the issues and challenges that are facing black men and come up with some strategies that can empower African-American males.”
Citing national statistics, Bryson said at present there are 1.2 million students dropping out of high school, most of whom are African-American males.
“It is reported that there are more African-American males in prison than in college,” he added.
These conditions, he said, contribute to the educational and economic demise of the African-American male.
Bryson says the negative actions and attitudes of African-American males are unconscious behaviors that are stimulated by a sense of not being competent in their personal and academic lives or in their careers.
“And it is also based on how a person feels about himself,” he said. “We have to track the causes of the behaviors that cause them to fail.”
Although an black male headed for the White House has given a boost to the self-confidence of African-Americans in America, it may have minimal impact on how at-risk African-American males feel about themselves, he said.
“I think for a huge segment of the African-American population, it has a major impact and for a small segment it has no impact at all,” Bryson said. “So it is this segment we need to reach, particularly those who are immersed in self-handicapping behaviors.”
He will discuss how these behaviors manifest themselves Saturday and offer some strategies to help overcome this phenomenon.
Bryson also has invited some agencies and professionals to join him so that those who attend will have a resource to help address some of these issues and challenges they face.
Some of the organizations that will be in attendance include the Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club, Boys Scouts and Common Place.