Summit stresses smart choices for Black males

By Cierra Duncan

Black males of all ages recently convened to receive advice on making intelligent choices, acquiring needed life skills and planning for success.

The fourth annual Smart’n Up Black Male Summit organized by activist Deric Muhammad took place at Lone Star College North Harris. One of its goals is to help change the mindset of Black males.

“You’ve got to know where you are going,” Muhammad told participants. “If you don’t know where you are going, somebody is building a place to put you.”

Black Male Summit organizer Deric Muhammad and three young participants make a point. (Photo: Cierra Duncan)

Black Male Summit organizer Deric Muhammad and three young participants make a point. (Photo: Cierra Duncan)

The summit included workshops on various topics. In “Chess for Success,” Cliff Campbell taught that life skills and strategies could be taken from the game of chess. He is the owner of K.I.N.G. Chess League and a world-class chess player.

“Chess is strategy,” Campbell said. “Your life has to have strategy and planning too. If you’re going around doing what you want to do with no plan, someone is going to lead you where they want you to go.”

He said Black males should focus on having a “good name, good appearance, and good word” and reevaluate their definition of success.

“Success is being the best you can be,” Campbell said. “It is knowing your purpose in life, mastering it, and completing your goals.”

Iman Khalis Rashaad discussed “Run Toward Fear: How to use Faith, Work Ethic and Goal Setting to Get What You Need.” He is the spiritual leader for Ibrahim Islamic Center, a CPA, entrepreneur and mentor.

“If we go to work and are only seeking money, we are in for a life of severe difficulty,” Rashaad said. “If we choose our careers thinking about the service potential and not the profit potential, we begin to become fulfilled and see more value in our work.”

Rashaad said “old-school values” should be brought back. “When I look at the way our youth are going today, it is evident we value playing more than serious work,” he said.

Pastor E.A. Deckard of Greenhouse International Church led a workshop titled “Wake Up! Sounding the Alarm.”

He said young Black males should be aware of the obstacles they will inherently have to face.

“There is a major attack against you,” Deckard said. “There is somebody that would love nothing more than to destroy your future. This is your life; it’s not a game or a video.”
The above article was published in Volume 83, Number 5 (November 28, 2013) of the Defender newspaper in Houston, TX.

The online version is available at


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