"Are we individually and collectively worthy of our children?" Johns asked. "Will we do what's required of us?"
"Despite all the progress we've made in this country – and we've made a lot of progress – there's still a lot of work to be done," Quiñones said, describing how time and time again he has been judged by the color of his skin and the accent of his voice.
"You are the main actor in your featured film. You are the author to your autobiography," Howard tells youth. "Don't let someone make you play a supporting cast role."
Until you've heard from some of the 203 who have gone through the program, you can't begin to appreciate the impact Call Me MISTER has had on their lives and on the lives of the children they reach.
Tavis Smiley brought a powerful message of love and service to the 1,600 attending Clemson University's Men of Color Summit in a rousing Thursday luncheon keynote that brought the gathering to their feet.
Taking the stage as the opening keynote speaker, the former mayor of New Orleans attacked a stereotype perpetuated by images in the media that black men fall into one of two categories – remarkable successes on the athletic field or ensnared in the criminal justice system.
Marc Morial, the summit's opening keynote speaker, describes Clements as "a college president with soul and swagger. He's got it all."
"This is a party with a purpose that I love," Joyner said, praising the university for staging the inaugural summit and congratulating the school on the progress it's made in boosting enrollment of African Americans, Latinos and Asians at Clemson.
The mission of the two-day event is to close the achievement gap for African-American and Hispanic males, from cradle to career. Bringing together approximately 2,000 high school and college students, business professionals, educators, government officials and community leaders from around the country, the summit will emphasize the importance of education, best practices and choices to increase high school and college graduation rates. The national conference will lead to awareness of the changing U.S. demographics by enhancing the experience of men of color through involvement and engagement, preparing them for a global mindset.