I am truly blessed to have been invited to participate in this year’s A Call to Men Conference: “The Many Faces of Manhood” (Sept 14-15, St Paul, MN). Tony Porter invited me to participate on three panels:
- “Addressing Male Domination in Whiteness and White Supremacy (with Ed Heisler, Scott Davis, Kyle Tran Myhre; Facilitated by Sumayya Coleman)
- “Co-Parenting in the Context of Healthy, Respectful Manhood” (with Rickie Houston: Facilitated by Trina Greene)
- “Many Faces of Manhood: Men Embracing our Authentic Selves” (with Quentin (“Q”) Walcott, Juan Ramos, and Pheng Thao; Facilitated by Sumayya Coleman)
It’s going to be a full three days! For those of you who haven’t been to one of the A Call to Men Conferences, they do things a bit different. Rather than having “presenters” speak to audiences in workshop style settings, these are organized as facilitated round-tables. We’ll have a few moments to speak amongst each other, and then the audience will be invited to join in the conversation.
That being said, I have also felt the need to begin to capture my thoughts and feelings in these three huge and emotionally packed content areas in order to feel more confident and comfortable in expressing myself. The goal of the conference is to encourage participants authentic Selves, and while I do want to be authentic, I also want to be articulate.
Each of these topics, for me, is packed to overflowing with thoughts, emotions and experiences. I know who I am and am trying to be, and the context we all find ourselves in — a socio-political context in which white supremacy and male dominance are more highly valued and seems to be more overtly expressed and practiced, than we’ve seen in many years.
My intention is to continue to think and feel on these topics leading up to the conference. Continue to reflect, take notes and read relevant and inspiring works (as an aside, in talking about the “Co-Parenting roundtable”, James Baldwin’s piece “Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation”; a part of his masterpiece The Fire Next Time was suggested). There is a lot of material here that is worthy of me exploring and expressing – beyond for the needs of the Conference.
But when at the conference, to do my best to get out of my way. Authenticity comes from the heart, not from the head. I have a tendency to over-think, over-analyze and over-indulge myself and my perspective. When I get there, my intention is to ground myself in the moment open my heart, do my best to minimize the chatter in my head, and speak.
I’m not sure what will come out. Stay tuned…