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History Professor Organizes Youth Forum on San Antonio’s East Side

Assistant Professor Carey Latimore works with City to address issues affecting teens.

By Russell Guerrero ’83

January 2011 — The challenges facing young people, especially young African American males, have been on the mind of Carey Latimore, assistant professor of history at Trinity.  As a historian, he studies how the African American community has lost some of its power and ownership as an unintended consequence of integration.  And as an associate minister at Mount Zion First Baptist Church, he worries how the lack of a stable home life and dearth of male role models has contributed to making young men dependent on society.


Carey Latimore

Last year, Latimore expressed his concern in an article in a local African American newspaper.  That started a chain of events leading to Latimore to organizing, with the City of San Antonio, an issues forum for young people.           

After the article was published, Latimore was contacted by Grace First Baptist Church and invited to hold a discussion on the issues facing young people.  The session went so well that Latimore was asked by his own minister at Mount Zion to continue the dialogue by organizing a youth forum at their church.

While putting together the forum, Latimore met Ivy Taylor, District 2 representative on the San Antonio City Council.  Taylor suggested they work on a project together and mentioned her idea of holding a youth initiative. Latimore told her he was planning a forum at his church and they agreed to collaborate and expand the scope of the Mount Zion event.

Rechristened “The District 2 Youth Forum: Bridging Gaps in Reaching our Community’s Youth,” the all-day forum was held in November at St. Philip’s College.  About 300 people attended with a little more than half being teen-agers.

The Forum was divided into two sections.  The first section included a panel discussion on youth and education.  Among the panelists were Taylor, Latimore, and Michael Soto, associate professor of English at Trinity and newly elected member to the Texas State Board of Education.  Two high school students spoke on issues they said many of their peers faced every day: depression, poverty, and suicide.

In the afternoon, the forum featured breakout sessions for boys, girls, parents and educators, and grassroots organizations. Among the session leaders was Rafael Moffett, director of Campus & Community Involvement at Trinity, who moderated the discussion on the issues confronting young males.

Among the topics discussed by the girls were teen pregnancy, peer pressure, and the need to set long-term goals. The boys spoke on issues of masculinity, academic success and ethnic identity, and mentorship.

“The kids were engaged in the breakout sessions. They were paying attention and actually asked questions,” said Latimore, who added that they wanted to know more about mentorship and developing goals.

Latimore said the forum was just the beginning.  Already he has been working with his fellow organizers to establish a website to coordinate mentorship opportunities for young people.  He also is working on a plan to address the issues raised at the forum and hold additional forums in 2011.

© 2011 Trinity University

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