February 13, 2012
Karlton D. Davis '13
Students from the Minority Student Union attended the National Black Leadership Development Conference in Raleigh, NC, over the winter break. These future leaders were (left to right) Karlton Davis '13, Makel Dickerson '12, Dr. Nelms, Herbie Williams '12, and Ibn Salaam '12 along with MSU faculty advisor Mladen Cvijanovic. The conference was held from January 5-8.
Numerous workshops and speakers addressed the core elements of leadership. Speakers included Bev Smith, Tarrick Cox, Bryant K. Smith, Darryl Lester, Wayne Sutton, and Chancellor of North Carolina Central University Charlie Nelms (pictured above with H-SC students), all of whom have made a difference in the black community.
One memorable moment during Bryant Smith's address was when he told the audience he would show us how he can fly. Everyone knows that no one can defy gravity, yet plenty of students gathered around with camera phones waiting for him to float. After he "tried" to levitate he screamed "you all know I can't fly, but you all believed me. If you all can put that belief in yourselves, no one can stop you."
There were six different workshops each day, and we chose four to attend; in total the amount of time in sessions each day was about four hours. Workshops ranged from tips to strengthen your leadership in an organization, to a media blitz which addressed the black man's role in movies, and even the issue of the "N" word. The speakers and workshop facilitators were all college graduates from either East Carolina, North Carolina State, or the local college in the area, Shaw University. The information they gave to us dealt with issues they had expereinced during their own education in case we encountered similar situations. Each speaker charged the audience not to fall into the stereotypical trap of the black society but to stand up and make a change in the world.
The sessions were interactive which motivated the listeners to get involved. Handouts were given to all who attended, and I plan to study them and to apply them to my own leadership roles now and in the future. From this conference, the four student leaders who attended will now be able to motivate and empower other students.