In 2016, Jason Terrell joined the inaugural class of YouCAN Advocates at 50CAN, where he developed an advocacy project in support of the nonprofit organization he co-founded: Profound Gentlemen. The organization is dedicated to increasing and retaining the national percentage of male educators of color, and Jason’s work in YouCAN was to elevate the voices of black men in education and increase awareness around the impact that male educators of color have on boys of color.
Last month, Profound Gentlemen hosted the second Community Impact Assembly in Charlotte, NC. The Community Impact Assembly—also known as CIA—is an annual event that attracts over 100 male educators of color from all over the country to come together to share ideas in creating extraordinary outcomes for boys of color through site visits, workshops and community engagement.
Attendee Jarrett Brock was awarded the Civic and Community Engagement Award at the event, a distinction that highlights an educator’s efforts to improve their overall school and community. Brock shared his experiences at this year’s CIA and how the event and Profound Gentlemen have impacted him as an educator.
What is your job title?
I am a school recruitment program manager in Chicago, IL.
Was this your first time attending CIA?
No, this is my second time attending. I participated as a facilitator in one of the roundtables where educators received support for problems they wanted to address. I gave advice to another educator who wanted information about recruitment and getting more teachers involved.
What was your favorite session that you attended?
There were multiple events that I enjoyed; breakout sessions where educators and professionals from other facets came together to collaborate on issues educators have in the classroom. It is awesome to be able to hear other educators talk and lend my ear and pick up things from others at the table who shared their experiences. We also had community dinners throughout the city with partner organizations, where we could hear the perspectives on education and teacher diversity from different impact leaders. For many attendees, this was their first time in the Charlotte area, so they got a taste of the city outside of the conference setting.
What is an important lesson that you were able to take away from CIA?
A session that really hit home for me was called “Earning Your Seat At The Table.” I thought it was something that every male educator needs to hear because it was a conversation about what we need to do as educators to make sure our voices are heard and that we are respected not only in the classroom but within our respective schools and organization. Participants in this session could relate to the content and each other no matter where they were in their professional careers because of the guidance and tools given to take educators to the next level, whether as a more senior teacher, principal, dean or other education professional.
Is CIA impactful? Why or why not?
CIA is important because although male educators of color only account for a small percentage of educators, we are definitely a powerful and impactful group. It is amazing to see educators from 13 different states and areas of education come together. Further, it is encouraging to know that you are not the only one fighting the good fight and doing this work. This is an event that needs to continue, and I can see it potentially growing to other cities. I am excited for next year and getting more educators involved in the organization and participating in the event.
The Community Impact Assembly is the largest annual gathering for Profound Gentlemen. The organization is excited to host CIA next year, March 9-11, 2018. Until then, they will continue to offer bi-monthly professional development opportunities, quarterly convenings and networking events throughout the year to grow male educators of color's purpose, potential and impact in the profession. Find out more about Profound Gentlemen here.
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