In 2019, we held the first Durham Success Summit, bringing community awareness, career and leadership development, networking, and mentorship opportunities to young men of color in North Carolina. The need for this was clear: African American males - those who are part of a broader academic community - still contend with an unacceptably large gap in access to professional advancement and natural mentorship.
This need is particularly acute among those from low-income households, for whom the average after-tax income has remained essentially flat since 1979. Thus, low-income men of color are hit twice as hard by this inequality. One of the surest ways of closing these gaps is through mentor-mentee relationships.
A mentor is someone that can provide clarity, connection, inspiration, and leadership to young men who are otherwise lacking these crucial aspects of personal development. Mentorship of this kind has proven instrumental in advancing the long-term economic standing and professional trajectories of low-income youth and young adults.
Today, however, the gaps are still not closed. We aim to change that, envisioning a better future for African American men in North Carolina through the Durham Success Summit. This annual leadership conference brings together community professionals, motivational speakers, and industry leaders to cultivate key mentor-mentee relationships and career exploration opportunities for youth of color in Durham.
We envision a world where young men of color in Durham are able to use their vision, experience, networks and balanced perspective to lead industries and solve society's most difficult challenges industries.