By Jesse Muhammad, Contributing Writer
Originally published 3/3/08
HOUSTONâ€”â€œWe are being asked to reclaim the rich legacy of our past ancestors. But I must say, how can we as young people reclaim something we have no knowledge of?â€, said Keith J. Davis Jr., during his address to over 200 youth attendees at the first annual Reclaiming The Legacy Youth Symposium hosted by the Community of Faith Church.
â€œHow much do we as young people read about our history? We have to become excited about knowing our history because it will serve as motivation for us to do great things in our life timeâ€, added Keith Jr. aka K.Jerâ€™Rod, who spoke on the legacy of entrepreneurship and ways to become successful in business at the February 29 gathering.
K. Jerâ€™Rod was one of the four powerful speakers invited by lead Bishop James Dixon, II to share their knowledge, experience and methodologies in achieving success in entrepreneurship, scholarship, and leadership. Opening inspirational songs were led by Carlondria Dixon and the welcome given by Tanita Willey.
â€œWhen we were coming up through slavery, our people had to always be twice as good at everything they did to overcome the pastâ€, said Bishop Dixon in his opening remarks. â€œI called for this event because there is a gap between our legacy and those young people who desire to achieve authentic greatness. We waste a lot of time. If your heroes are zeroes then your tomorrow wonâ€™t mean much.â€
Ms. Carvana Hicks, a product of the host church, delivered a riveting message of inspiration in the area of scholarship. â€œAchieve your dreams. Education is available to you, so there is no excuse. I am an example that you can come from a poor family and accomplish what you will.â€
Raised in the Acres Homes community, Ms. Hicks is an assistant district attorney in Harris County and offered that when â€œyou have confidence you can take a stand and speak up. I have faced ridicule because there are not many people who look like me in my department. But I conduct myself like I belong there.â€
Co-presenter in the area of scholarship was Ms. Jamale Kempt, an educator at Stafford Middle School. â€œItâ€™s okay to be called a nerd, because just tell them you are in the Aâ€™s gang. Those who make straight Aâ€™s in class! You can achieve scholarship because God put it in you to do. Itâ€™s in you but itâ€™s up to you.â€
K. Jerâ€™Rod was joined by Attorney Sean Roberts in the area of entrepreneurship. Attorney Roberts raised over $100,000 for the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama in the state of Texas and has been a part of several multi-million dollar lawsuits against major corporations.
â€œYou must cast your vote because it is important. Barack is running to become the CEO of the largest corporation in the world, the United States of Americaâ€, said Roberts. â€œWhen you are an entrepreneur you have the power to hire people.â€
Renowned poet Se7en brought the audience to their feet with two masterful pieces entitled â€œBlackâ€ and â€œI Will Do Meâ€. The church youth praise dancers performed musicals of old school church scenes while the audience clapped and danced along.
Bishop Dixon and Attorney Michael Harris were scheduled to speak on leadership but humbly gave way to the highlighted elder and pioneer of the night, Ms. Anna Barrett. In a moment of impartation, the decedent of the original Black settlers of Barrett County, Texas, spoke on why the legacy of Blacks must be reclaim by the youth.
â€œLand is wealth, wealth is power and power does not have any color. My great grandparents bought two thousand acres of land for fifty cents an acre. Thatâ€™s where the wealth isâ€, she said. â€œWhen I grew up there were no divorces, the woman did not work and we as a people owned our own businesses. We didnâ€™t depend on anyone.â€
A group of young male mime dancers performed followed by a passionate prayer circle for all of the young people led by Bishop Dixon. High school student Jarrod Payne ended the event by saying â€œI challenge all of us as young people to take what we heard tonight and put it to use.â€