On Friday April 20, 2018 Medgar Evers College hosted our 4th annual “Paving The Way Conference: Channeling Resilience for Young Men of Color. We had over 400 guests who came as far from Arkansas, Minnesota, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, just to name a few.

The conference was kicked off by CHCMC Director of Clinical and Trauma Support Services Kenton Kirby, and Kings County District Attorney’s Office Shibinsky Payne. Opening remarks were provided by Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

Healing Works National Director Richard Smith moderated a panel discussion. The panelists shared their work and personal experiences on how their role plays an important role to the community they serve. Some quotes from our guests were “I enjoyed that the panel focused on community healing” and “Faith in our community gave me goosebumps.” One word that was used to describe the day was “POWERFUL.”

One of the many highlights of the day was a dance performance from Brooklyn’s own FLEXN. The pop locking, jaw dropping and bone breaking dancing had the audience in a trance. Some in attendance said that it was “Great to see Young Men of Color engaged in the arts” and “seeing these young men tell their story through dance was amazing, powerful and excellent.”

Make It Happen staff ran a workshop focused on their facilitating peer led group C.H.A.M.P.S. who work with middle school students. Sam Simmons from Sam Simmons Consulting offered an engaging and informative workshop on historical trauma. Many of the other workshops were also powerful and engaging.

The conference ended on a high note with CHCMC Educational Career Specialist Anthony Collins and social based hip hop dance company TruthWorker Theatre Company. Anthony Collins gave a therapeutic, powerful and positive performance through spoken word. TruthWorker Theatre Company shared their stories of trauma through spoken word and dance. “I really appreciate the vulnerability the gentlemen were able to portray and commit to.”

Thank you to all of our sponsors: the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, Healing Works, Common Justice, Center for Court Innovation, Crime Victims Treatment Center, Kings County District Attorney’s Office and Medgar Evers College for hosting.