July 9th, 2020
Q&A for Dr. Jewett L Walker, Jr.
100 Black Men of Los Angeles Inc.
Interview by Stephanie Stanton (President of Original Paperbacks)
Photos By: 100 Black Men of Los Angeles
We are excited to pledge 15% of June and July sales to two amazing organizations, the ACLU Voting Rights and 100 Black Men of Los Angeles. We were honored to have Dr. Jewett L Walker, Jr., President and Chairmen of the Board for 100 Black Men, answer a few questions for us. We wanted our customers to get to know the organization we are donating to, and learn about the incredible efforts 100 Black Men of LA are making to offer educational and economic support within our community. We thank them for their time, and we hope our readers are as inspired to take action as we are after reading about their organization.
How did the organization get started?
The overall concept of the 100 began in 1963 in New York City when a group of concerned African American men began to meet to explore ways of improving conditions in their community. These visionaries included businessmen and industry leaders such as David Dinkins, Robert Mangum, Dr. William Hayling, Nathaniel Goldstone III, Livingston Wingate Andrew Hatcher, and Jackie Robinson.
The Los Angeles Chapter was founded in 1981 by Dr. William Hayling, MD. We are a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 civic and community-based organization that serves as a catalyst for the disadvantaged and underrepresented segments of the community. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Blacks and other minorities through the enhancement of educational and economic opportunities within the community. The 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, Inc. provides support for and focuses on 5 major areas: mentoring, education, health and wellness, economic empowerment, and youth leadership.
Tell us about how the young Black scholars program helps provide Black students with educational opportunities they deserve, and might not be getting through their school system?
The Young Black Scholars Program is a nine-month program inclusive of workshops, webinars and college visits to help students prepare to apply to a 4-year college. In addition, there is a focus on leadership and professional skills development. Open to all students in Grades 8-12 The program brings together some of the best and brightest future leaders to participate in more than 30 workshops, programs, seminars, and conferences throughout the academic school year. The workshops and one-on-one activities help scholars and parents prepare for college admissions, selection, and continued success.
2019-2020 Young Black Scholars’ Workshops included:
- Understanding Academic Requirements for College
- College Application and Essay Preparation
- Picking the Right College
- College Information Session Webinar Series
- Professional Development Skills
- Time Management Skills (NEW!)
- Effective Communications Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Effective Presentation Skills (NEW!)
- College Financial Aid Overview
- How To Get Straight A’s in College
- Tips for Being Successful In College (NEW!)
- Interviewing and Resume Techniques (NEW!)
- College Majors and Careers Explorations (NEW!)
- Young Black Scholars’ Health Summit
- Online SAT Preparation Course for 11th Graders (NEW!)
- Online Tutoring Program for 35 students (NEW!)
Despite being called ‘100 Black Men’, the organization has coed support groups as well. Can you describe the female mentoring opportunities?
The core elements of our mentoring program are the same for both genders. Researchers have identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies necessary for success in school, life and the workplace. The five competency clusters are:
The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”
- Identifying emotions
- Accurate self-perception
- Recognizing strengths
The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.
- Impulse control
- Stress management
- Organizational skills
The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
- Appreciating diversity
- Respect for others
The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.
- Social engagement
The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.
- Identifying problems
- Analyzing situations
- Solving problems
- Ethical responsibility
In addition we strongly believe in teaching The Six Pillars of Character
The Six Pillars of Character® are the core ethical values of CHARACTER COUNTS! These values were identified by a nonpartisan, nonsectarian (secular) group of youth development experts in 1992 as “core ethical values that transcend cultural, religious and socioeconomic differences”.
The Six Pillars of Character are: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. We recommend always using the Pillars in this specific order and using the acronym “T.R.R.F.C.C.” (terrific).
Each of The Six Pillar of Character traits are used within our CHARACTER COUNTS! program to help instill a positive school climate and a culture of kindness, making schools a safe environment for students to learn.
Be honest in communications and actions • Don’t deceive, cheat or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country • Keep your promises
Treat others with respect and follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements
Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Be diligent • Persevere • Do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act • Be accountable for your words, actions and attitudes • Set a good example for others • Choose a positive attitude • Make healthy choices
Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly • Treat all people fairly
Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Show Empathy • Express gratitude • Forgive others and show mercy • Help people in need • Be charitable and altruistic
Do your share to make your home, school, community and greater world better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment • Volunteer
Describe some challenges your organization has had to overcome, either within the community or within the organization?
Until the recent protests around the country, Black students and programs to help them fell out of favor as society shifted to DACA students and the needs of the undocumented population. Over the past 10 years funding has continued to shrink. We could no longer afford an executive director or staff to help with fundraising, scheduling, program management, volunteer recruitment, membership and community engagement.
We moved away from staffed based program to member led programming. But we still need some paid staff to perform clerical and administrative functions to keep the programs moving smoothly. Our membership is composed of professional men who have heavy responsibilities in their everyday life, a staffer could keep the loose ends together and help us deliver a more cohesive product for students.
Recruiting members is still a challenge as the membership bar is high (www.100bmla.net/membership). Volunteer recruitment needs to be upgraded as does our engagement with corporate partners to help deliver and support our programming.
Can you describe the initial changes and improvements you see in communities when Black students begin their mentorship with 100 Black Men?
The changes we strive to see in our communities include: increased graduation rates, increased college going rates, increased college graduation rates, less contact with the criminal justice system, fewer school suspensions and expulsions, less homelessness, higher level of homeownership, more fathers present in the home, stronger economic base and better health outcomes.
What new projects or programs is the organization in the process of or hoping to implement next?
We want to establish an external advisory board to help with fundraising, strategic planning, corporate engagement and program design. We have plans to beef up our volunteer recruitment to have men to serve as mentors without the requirements of membership, which has been a barrier to many in the past.
We also want to devote more resources to recruiting female mentors to build a more robust female mentoring program. Females can participate in everything we offer except the male mentoring program. Males and Females each deserve their space to communicate freely about issues that affect them without the pressure or potential embarrassment of the opposite sex being in the room.
We also need to transition to a computer-based mentor, mentee and parent training component. This would be especially helpful in onboarding new mentors.
One last need is the ability to offset the cost of screening volunteers which runs close to $100 per person.
How do you envision the 100 Black Men of America’s role and influence in future generations?
Continuing with our emphasis on Education, Mentoring, Health & Wellness, Economic Empowerment and Leadership will continue to increase our influence in future generations
What is the meaning behind the slogan, “Real Men Giving Real Time”?
Educated professional men at the top of their industry and career giving of themselves in making a difference in the lives of young men and women.
Tell us about the organization’s value of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) and its impact on mentees?
Answered in the 3rd question.
What volunteers does the organization need most and how can someone who’s interested get involved?
- Male mentors
- Female mentors
- Advisory Board Members
- Fundraising expertise
- Strategic planning professionals
- Grant writers
For more information on 100 Black Men, and to donate time or funds, please visit their website at: https://www.100bmla.net