100 Black Men of West Texas Celebrates Annual Gala

100 Black Men of West Texas Celebrates Annual Gala

This past Saturday night in Lubbock the 100 Black Men of West Texas celebrated their annual gala. The banquet and ceremony is put on in an effort to raise money for the scholarships given to graduating high school seniors each spring. The atmosphere was a lively one and the food was fantastic. Both men and women alike hit the dance floor to rock to the rhythms of the live band “Elevated Soul”. Awards and honors were given to those being recognized and the purpose for gathering was on the minds of attendees.The 100 Black Men of West Texas Inc. began in 1994. It was the first chapter in the state of Texas. When asked how he felt about Lubbock’s West Texas chapter being the first in Texas, current President Charles Hankston says, “I feel great about it because I wasn’t a part of it the first year but I was a part of it the second year and have been ever since!” While operating as a non-profit organization, it is one of many chapters that fall under the umbrella of the 100 Black Men of America . The National organization was founded in 1963 in New York City, and is now headquartered in Atlanta Georgia. This is an organization that has four primary focuses on a local and national level. These four components are referred to as the “Four for the Future”. They include the following: Mentoring, Education, Health & Wellness, and Economic Development. “If we start teaching our young black males at an early age, we could be in more schools instead of prisons.”, says President Charles Hankston. He mentions this in response to the question, “How does he feel about the rising number of black males being incarcerated?” He goes {{more}} on to explain that in the mentoring program the 100 Black Men of West Texas facilitate in the city with the schools. They are presently working with Quadrant IV. This quadrant serves several schools from elementary through high school. This program is called “The Rights of Passage.” “In our Rights of Passage group, we teach about history, where you come from, Black History. We teach them how to apply for a job. We teach them how to sit down and eat a meal, what silverware to use. We also teach them about spiritual guidance and so forth.”, Hankston explains. With all of the community involvement they have another annual event that Mr. Hankston became very excited about. Hankston says, “We take them fishing! The event is held on the first Saturday of every June.” He continues, “We had 315 kids this past year. We have hamburgers and hotdogs and teach them how to fish.” Hankston is very quick to add, that instead of the kids sitting and watching T.V., they stay out there all day. He says that the event is really catching on and getting a lot of attention. In addition, there is now a new program called “Passport to Manhood”. Their motto is Real Men Giving Real Time. All who were present were representative of doing just that. “If we can teach young boys, especially young black boys how to read by the time they get into the fourth grade…we can keep them in school!” States Hankston. He further feels that through their mentoring program, they can help to keep them off of drugs, because they will be there to educate them about drugs and their dangers. He speaks highly of their mentoring program in the city of Lubbock Texas. “Everybody wants to catch on to it and try to do what we’ve done, but we set the example for mentoring.”, he added that they are just trying to make a difference. There has also been an interest in creating programs to help mentor and teach young girls as well. It is something that Hankston says many are looking into developing a very similar program of the same nature. “We stand by our motto, Real Men Give Real Time.”, said Hankston. Present Treasurer/Spokesman and former president Calvin Davis states, “The problem is that many of our youth, don’t have strong male role models.” He reiterates the motto of this organization. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, they go out to several different schools to work with the children. When asked what one of his greatest points has been president he says without hesitation, “Taking it to another level!” This has been his goal and he promised himself before being elected , that he would do so if elected. He is eager to say that within the recent years, their organization has given out approximately $25 to $30,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors. Spokesman Calvin Davis mentioned when asked…that they generally give away 5 scholarships of about $5,000 when the funds are available. The recipients of those scholarships must fill out an application and write an essay and send it to the 100 Black Men of West Texas Inc. Their grades are then checked and they try to help them go to college. “We’ve had a lot of great moments. Ultimately it’s been when we’ve serviced a kid…when you see a kid that we’ve mentored and he goes on to college to be successful and finishes, and becomes a gainfully employed worker in society or starting a business! We have several success stories.” The event held that evening was large in part a major fundraiser for the scholarships to be awarded this spring. The Mission Statement: The mission of the 100 Black Men of West Texas is to improve the quality of life for all individuals in our community by enhancing the educational, health, and economic opportunities for those individuals with an emphasis on enhancements for African Americans. Hankson ends with this, “ Our name says 100, and we don’t quite have 100 yet. It also says Black men, but as you can see…we have other races. In our purpose it only says that we are a group of men, who want to help the youth.” Calvin Davis shared a time when they received a grant to begin a Boxing Mentoring Program. They brought in some professional boxers to work with the kids and to give them hope. He says that soon, it wasn’t just African American children. Hispanic children, white children and all others showed up. Soon people could look up and see that not only do we help black kids…but we want to help all kids!” They welcome that “Real Men Give Real Time” philosophy. The newly elected President of this chapter is Greg Ricks and he’s scheduled to take office, three weeks from now. If you are interested in donating to the scholarship fund or becoming a member of the Lubbock chapter, feel free to contact them either through email action@100bmwt.com or by regular mail. P.O. Box 6331 Lubbock, Texas 79493. For all interested Abilenians, your chance to help out with the 100 Black Men of West Texas is soon to be available. Local President of the NAACP Petty Hunter is in the process of developing a chapter here. When asked about the importance of education in the African American community as a whole Hunter says, “It’s paramount to our survival.” Stating his role he mentions, “I am the Abilene organizer for the 100 Black Men of West Texas.” He attended the gala, as a present member and in an effort to support the cause. He tells that he has been looking at this venture for the past 2½ years. He has been a member of the Lubbock chapter now for the past year. When asked what role of importance this organization could play in the city of Abilene, Hunter adds, “In Abilene we have an opportunity to bring an entity on a local and national level, to address the issues of our youth.” When asked about how he believes the scholarship program of 100 Black Men could help Abilene students, he says this, “My dream is to make sure that we can send as many of our children to college as we can.” He tells that he would like to see children sent to school, and to school for a very long time. Hunter mentions the importance of full-ride scholarships and their ability to see students to graduation. “I hope that’s something that we’re going to be able to accomplish at some point in time, but while we’re doing that with the 100 Black Men and other efforts that we’ve got going on, we can at least begin to create partnerships as a whole.” Six people in all from Abilene attended the event. They are as follows: Petty Hunter and Tonya Jones Brown, Larry and Sandra Jones and finally Robert Lilly and Sienna Miller.