DES MOINES, Iowa –Education is power, something Wes Hall says all young men of color should know.
On Saturday, Hall organized the inaugural “Young Men of Color Conference” at Drake University.
“We’re trying to get them to understand that a degree is important. Academics is the way,” he says.
Recent reports show Iowa is one the worst states in the nation when it comes to racial disparities and arrests. Hall who grew up in Des Moines says that’s why he wanted to host an event that could inspire.
“I walked these streets. I know how difficult it is for our boys. When you start talking about the school to prison pipeline, you start talking about them under performing in virtually every academic category,” says Hall. “We need things like this so our boys know there is a place for them to go and that there are resources.”
Middle school and high school aged boys listened to a host of different speakers and minority community leaders. They learned about the importance of education and financial literacy. They also had a chance to connect with adult role models.
“We have so many successful men of color who are here for our boys and many times they do not see that in their community, he says. “Never underestimate the power of when our boys are able to see men who have succeed and are there for them, it’s magic.”
Des Moines Mayor, Frank Cownie, declared October 29th as Young Men of Color Day.