The first Leadership Conference for African Nova Scotian Males was held at Cole Harbour District High School on Friday.
The event saw keynote speakers address young black men about education, business and spirituality.
Curtis Gabriel, organizer of the event, says black Nova Scotians deserve events like this.
“Young African Nova Scotia males need a tool to help them with leadership,” he said. “We wanted to work with the young men to help them achieve their goals and give them a platform where they can express themselves.”
More than 140 people from across the Halifax region attended the conference. In addition to the keynote speakers, workshops were held throughout the day to promote black culture and teach students valuable skills for life beyond high school.
Elizabeth Sinclair-Artwell, award winning teacher and keynote speaker at the event, says it’s up to educators to bring about positive change for young students.
“The best quality a teacher can have is to see the potential of kids,” she said. “You have to be able to look beyond what’s there and see what’s their potential and then work towards that.”
Artwell hopes that the conference will give young African Nova Scotian males something to think about.
“A sense of pride. A sense of belonging. A sense of understanding where they came from, where they need to go and how they can do it,” she said.
This is the first year the conference has taken place, but Gabriel hopes to make it an annual event for schools across Nova Scotia. He says he believes that events like this will help African Nova Scotians become more engaged in the community.
“It’s basically all about choices. How to be a leader. How to encompass education with community engagement and walk away with making better choices,” Gabriel said.