If you were wondering where the men were last Saturday, a number of them were at the Men of Dominion Forum held at the First African Baptist Church at 901 Clifton Ave. in Sharon Hill.
Men from various parts of the city and beyond gathered to hear speakers talk about such subjects as personal accountability, financial responsibility and professional development, among other topics. It was also a time for male bonding.
Rodney Grobes said he organized the event to teach men how to become better men for their communities and their families. He said he hoped that the men attending the forum would return to their communities and share the information with other men.
“It started with the men in my family and from that point it spread to the community and now it spread through several counties in Philadelphia,” said Grobes.
“I hope that the young men and older adults realize how important it is to be leaders in our families to the young men, to their kids, and to be leaders in their families so that things can stop going backwards and start progressing instead,” he said.
Men from diverse age groups attended the forum, and older men and younger men dined together and enjoyed a buffet provided by Grobes.
Asked about the turnout, Grobes said he was “very impressed.”
Chazz Scott, founder of the group “Positively Caviar,” came from Baltimore to be the evening’s keynote speaker. Scott said Grobes reached out to him after seeing his motivational and instructional videos on YouTube.
“I started a nonprofit organization centered on the message of intentional positive thinking to instill mental resilience, so a lot of what I do speaks to how the conversations inside your head control your destiny,” said Scott.
“I’m here to speak to science of how your mind and body work so you can instill habits that support your life and your family.”
Scott said one of his favorite books is “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale, which discusses how positive thinking can transform one’s life.
“[Peale] talks about how your thoughts really control your life, and I thought, you know, that’s true. I didn’t consciously think about it like that, but I said, ‘that’s true.’ The thoughts you have support your life and how your destiny may evolve,” Scott said.
Scott said he realized that a lot of people needed that message and that the more he began receiving speaking engagements, the more he realized that people of color needed stability because of setbacks caused by historic oppression in America and beyond.
“I’m here to try to give people motivation but also the knowledge and tools to make those decisions that support their lives,” Scott said.
Brandon Jones of the Philly Youth Peace Movement, an organization that mentors and provides motivational and instructional services and support for the city’s youth, described the event as “a much-needed and positive one.”
Jones, no stranger to pounding the pavements in his outreach efforts to stop violence among the city’s young Black men, was one of the speakers at the forum and shared strategic and practical techniques to help the men “gain leadership roles in their households and communities.”
“I think the event was very enlightening and definitely helped to bridge the generational gap between the younger generation and the older generation,” he said.