This post was originally published on Defender Network

The Smart’n Up Black Male Summit, an event that takes place twice a year, will hold its second 2021 outing Saturday, Dec. 4. The purpose is always the same: to address the unique needs of Black men and boys and expose them to empowering information, positive role models, potential mentors and critical resources to help them survive and succeed in an adverse society.

“The Black Male Summit essentially is a tool shed,” said founder and organizer of the virtual summit, local activist Deric Muhammad. “We distribute the best tools available to empower Black men and boys. Their survival and success depends on how well they use those tools.”

Muhammad contends the greatest tool is knowledge of self, which produces respect and love for self. This knowledge has been shared in past summits via speakers to which young Black males can relate. Local and national hip hop artists, activists, academics and others have served as presenters in the past.

Deric Muhammad presenting at a 2019 SMart’n Up Black Male Summit. Photo courtesy of Deric Muhammad.

Though much of Muhammad’s activism has focused on holding law enforcement and others who have traditionally brutalized Black people, accountable for their actions, the summit has consistently been a “family” conversation about Black people’s responsibility for stopping the violence in our own communities aimed at other Blacks.

“The murder rate has increased over 30% nationwide. Homicide is the leading cause of death among Black males ages 10-24. The Black Male Summit seeks to teach our brothers how to intelligently resolve conflict without resorting to gun violence; how to turn raw talent into a lucrative business so that you don’t have to steal, kill or rob in order to survive,” said Muhammad.

“We do not sugar-coat our subject matter at the Black Male Summit,” said Muhammad. “Our message is strong. Our workshops include presentations about entrepreneurship, confidence building, conflict resolution, among other critical topics.”

The target age group is 12 years and older. However, anyone (including women) are welcome to attend. According to multiple past attendees, previous summits have been a life changing experience for thousands.

“If we pull up their minds their pants will follow,” said Muhammad of the Summit which is sponsored by Lone Star College-North Harris and Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Traditionally, an in-person event, the Dec. 4 Summit will, like the one held in 2021, will be virtual. To register and participate, visit here.