Blog Entry Health & Healing, Youth Development, Education, Narrative Change

Scenes from CBMA's 7th Annual "Rumble Young Man, Rumble!"

by Janet Dickerson

From November 29th-December 1st, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) kicked off its 7th Annual Rumble Young Man, Rumble (RYMR), a convening of more than 200 advocates and change-makers held at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. For two and a half days, Rumblers (Black Male Achievement field and movement leaders) representing 115 organizations and affiliations from 45 U.S. cities, Belize and the United Kingdom joined together to engage in sessions and discussions geared towards leadership development, and to reflect, heal, and explore solutions to address the social and systemic challenges faced by Black males in cities like Louisville and others throughout the U.S.

Shifting the trajectory of Black males in America can’t be done without local leaders and hometown heroes who are driving this work. Shawn Dove, CEO, Campaign for Black Male Achievement

Launched in 2011, Rumble has become the preeminent gathering for Black Male Achievement leaders in education, criminal justice, mentoring, responsible fatherhood, narrative change, philanthropy, and other fields.  "This year was our most powerful Rumble yet, and CBMA was excited to celebrate the dynamic leaders at Rumble," said Campaign for Black Male Achievement CEO Shawn Dove. It was especially important for young Black males themselves (known as Flyweights) to be fully integrated and engaged throughout the event to experience the powerful community and leadership-building that took place.”

Rumble 7 kicked off at Louisville City Hall with an Opening Bell ceremony presided over by RYMR Director Steve Vassor, and featuring remarks by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Jim Gray, Mayor of Lexington, KY. It also included performances by youth poets Jalen Posey and Tyrell Henley; a special appearance by honorary guest and brother of Muhammad Ali, Rahman Ali; and the presentation of the 2017 Black Male Achievement Awards in recognition of youth and adult leaders who each embody one of Ali's six core principals in their work on behalf of Black men and boys.

On Days 2 and 3, Rumblers began each morning with a Spirituality Session facilitated by Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, which offered a safe space for reflection, healing, and community-building between and among adult (Heavyweight) and young (Flyweight) guests. Throughout the day, Rumblers took breaks to breathe, stretch, and recharge between sessions and keynote speakers, with exercises led by Dr. Phyllis Hubbard, Director of CBMA Health and Healing Strategies

Rumble is important, not just for the restoration, but for the healing aspect. This is the one time of year where there's no battling, no second guessing. It's just love and being loved. Dr. Torie Weiston-Serdan

Later on Thursday morning, Flyweights participated in a session led by Jason Wilson, CBMA Member and Founder of Cave of Adullam out of Detroit learning how to control their emotions, let go of their distractions and work towards their goals.

At Rumble we are pouring into the young men, so many of whom don't know how to fight the good fight the right way. Personally, Rumble is major for me being able to give back and teach them how to rumble so they don't get knocked out in life. Jason Wilson

Throughout the event, Rumblers had access to CBMA's new "Rumble Young Man, Rumble" pop-up shop, which featured signature Rumble apparel, gifts and accessories -- including hoodies, mugs, socks, and even cufflinks! Each item sold goes towards helping CBMA amplify and catalyze Black Male Achievement around the country.

Some of the most powerful moments at Rumble happened ring-side, as this year's featured speakers like Dr. Pamela Jolly of Torch Enterprises, Dr. George Fraser, and Ambassador A. Shabazz -- daughter of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz/Malcolm X -- shared gems of wisdom about building individual and community wealth, and creating a meaningful legacy upon which to strengthen and inspire future generations. On the final day, Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt invited Flyweights up to the mic to share their personal goals, visions of success, and uplifting words to empower and motivate their fellow peers.

By many accounts, this year's gathering was CBMA's most powerful Rumble yet. If you weren't in attendance or able to catch portions of the program online, you can still check out key event highlights on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) using the hashtag #RYMR7. Until next time: Keep Rumbling!


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