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Wake County Schools hosts conference about being young, black and male in NC

Posted April 15
Updated April 16

— The Wake County School district hosted a conference Saturday about the challenges young black men face in school.

Safwan Wallace, 14, said the conference was a learning experience.

"The stuff I take with me today will help me in the long run," he said. "So for college, at the end of high school."

Wake County Public Schools teamed up with the Helping Hands Mentor Program and the creators of the "Choice Not Chance" documentary and created the conference: a chance to open up dialogue about the issues young black men face.

Andrew Moody said it was a chance to take what he's learned and give back.

"I got in a lot of trouble, a lot of fights," he said. "I was arrested several times, but I did at some point make a decision to turn my life around."

The "Choice Not Chance Conference" was open to students, parents, teachers and anyone in the community who wanted to take part.

"What I wanted to do by putting on the conference and collaboration with choice not chance was give the opportunity for our young men to kind of find their voice," Rodney Trice said.

Producers of the documentary said they wanted to bring to light the things they learned while creating the film.

"So within the documentary there are topics like dealing with the criminal justice system, navigating broken families, finding their voice," Trice said.

By creating awareness, leaders said they hope to create change.

"We all have to make better choices when it comes to young black men. And I mean everybody. If we make better choices for them, they'll make better choices for themselves," Mindy Fuller said.

4 Comments

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  • Fred Neopolitano Apr 16, 3:48 p.m.
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    I couldn't have said it better.

  • Matt Smithe Apr 16, 12:11 p.m.
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    I've never understood how you reach racial parity by highlighting difference. This just seems like one more way to segregate people under the guise of equality.

  • Henry Davis Apr 16, 11:39 a.m.
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    Nothing but fueling racial profiling.

  • Michael Bawden Apr 16, 8:10 a.m.
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    "Choice not chance" is a good slogan. That should be the slogan for ALL WCPSS students. It should be taught from kindergarten thru graduation. Not just ONE special session. Students should be taught honestly about repercussions of their actions as juviniles and as adults. ESPECIALLY kids 13-18 yrs old. Maybe a hotline should be set up for kids to call to get legal questions answered. Guidance to find legal advice if needed. Sample job applications should be posted in high school cafeterias and commen areas highlighting HAVE YOU EVER COMMITTED A FELONY? "Choice not Chance" should also discuss pregnancy, truancy,