Black Churches in Daytona Beach, Florida Hold Meeting on Value of Black Men

Dr. Willie J. Kimmons has never seen black people this divided in his life.

Bishop Derek Triplett speaks to an audience gathered at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural Center in Daytona Beach on Thursday. The meeting, entitled "The Black Male Gathering: Lets talk about Trayvon and the value of black men in America," News-Journal/NIGEL COOK
"We didn't get here overnight," said Kimmons, 69, a nationally recognized consultant, speaker, seminar leader and author.

Divided or not, more than 50 black men as well as a few black women of all ages answered Bishop Derek Triplett's call to discuss Trayvon Martin and the value of black men in America on Thursday night at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural & Educational Center.

Though the case and recent acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Martin, 17, may have sparked the gathering, Triplett and the group focused on where black men are today and how to make positive changes in the community.

Many in the group cited meeting goals when Triplett asked how they measure success.

Triplett, a senior pastor at Hope Fellowship Church, said he's been doing this too long and knows, for many young black men, success is measured by the car they drive, the clothes they wear and the female they're with.

"You just don't want to tell me that," Triplett said to laughs from the group.

The group seemed taken aback and impressed when 11-year-old Camari Nelson said success was not just forming a family, but raising one.

Triplett also discussed the difficulty of living in and getting out of the " 'hood," or ghetto.

"We dyin' over nothing," Triplett said. "We're not graduating, or we're graduating and going nowhere."

He then asked the group for ideas on how to get out of the hood.

"I think you have to, first, envision yourself out," 32-year-old Matt Covington, of Daytona Beach, said.

Triplett said many people have the idea that giving black people sports will keep them out of trouble, but it's not a realistic concept because only a select few actually make it to the major leagues.

Triplett then asked Kimmons how the younger generations have failed, but Kimmons stopped him and said it was the older generation that has failed the younger ones.

"We gave you too much and expected nothing in return," Kimmons said. "We gave up on our children and our children's children."

Source: Daytona Beach News Journal Online | Katie Kustura
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