Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)
Originally published 12.20.09
by Akilah N. Muhammad, Howard University student
â€œMale and females are not different FROM each other, they are different FOR each otherâ€, a 2009 Love and Fidelity Conference panelist remarked.
On November 13-14, 2009, the Love and Fidelity Network hosted the second annual intercollegiate conference on marriage, family, and sexual integrity in Princeton, New Jersey at Princeton University. Myself along with senior and psychiatry major, Aleja Parson, were invited to represent Howard University by a phenomenal black marriage counselor (who appeared on â€œBlack in America Part IIâ€ ) and founder of the company Wedded Bliss, Sister Nisa Islam Muhammad.
Sister Nisa wanted a historically black college to be represented at this conference because last year there was no HBCU involvement! And I must say, after attending this conference it should be mandatory for ALL HBCUâ€™s to participate in conferences such as this one. The weekend was full of workshop after workshop and excellent information that all students should have been present to hear. Friday night was college check-in, the introduction, followed by a phenomenal workshop entitled COURTSHIP MATTERS!
The speakers for this workshop were Any and Leon Kass, an elderly couple that have been married for over 50 years! They pointed out the purpose of courtship and exposed the misery now experienced in its absence, mainly by talking about the many needs courtship fulfills and the many benefits it provides. It was absolutely beautiful how the students embraced the concept of courtship and this workshop. The Kassâ€™ did an excellent job and I highly enjoyed myself because I indeed plan to undergo not a dating process, but a courtship process in the futureâ€¦there is a difference.
On Saturday, the morning began at 8am with continental breakfast and then immediately went into the workshop portions. To give you an understanding as to what was said, here are the topics of the workshops: â€œSexual Decision-making and Emotional Health in Emerging Adulthoodâ€, â€œSexual Ethics and the Meaning of Marriage â€, â€œHow Pornography is Transforming Our lives, Our Relationships, and Our Familiesâ€, and â€œFaith, Fidelity, and Cultureâ€. Aleja and I went to each workshop except for the one about Pornography because we just HAD to go take a napâ€¦whew the sessions were really long! Ha! However, all of the workshops that we attended were absolutely filled with great information. They talked about how marriage is not merely a legal act but a union between two persons and itâ€™s an intrinsic human good. They also didnâ€™t have any problem talking about spiritual matters throughout the entire conference, â€œThe REAL person is the mind or spirit, therefore, the body unity is not person unity.â€
In fact, one of the panelists was a Minister! This conference was so amazing and necessary that it saddened me to realize there were only four Black people present out of over 500 people: Aleja and I and two Black men. The Black community can benefit from taking part in a conference like this; our relationships are just not like they used to be. There are far too many single-parent households and broken families in the Black community for there to have only been FOUR black people at that college conference. To change this Aleja and I have planned to take what we heard, saw and felt and use it as a model to do something first at Howard University and then eventually HBCUâ€™s across America. I am so elated that I had this opportunity and I pray that Howard University will continue to be a model HBCU for our people!
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