The first “Remember to Believe” Youth Summits took place in 2011-12. Community members facilitated the summit, a one-day event that grew out of Madison’s chapter of 100 Black Men of Madison. Facilitators included men from the Madison Fire Dept., the UW-Madison, the State of Wisconsin District Attorney’s Office, and Dane Co. Mental Health as well as local ministers and entrepreneurs.
Twenty students from the eight Madison-area high schools attended in order to acquire new tools to allow them to return to their schools and communities with information and the ability to share their knowledge and new-found personal empowerment with others.
The summits incorporated a discussion of the values that go into being a productive man, hip hop and spoken word freestyle performance, and a challenge for participants to integrate their learning into their daily lives.
Participants expressed the desire for facilitators to become their mentors and to have a follow-up session as well as annual summits.
A book Remember to Believe: Follow Your Own Drinking Gourd to Success, by Richard Scott, resulted from the summits, discussing the questions that adults, parents and community members should ask themselves and young people.
About Remember to Believe
The lyrics in the song, ‘Follow the Drinking Gourd,’ included coded messages telling enslaved African Americans when to escape, where to travel, and who would help them on their journey to freedom. The drinking gourd was their road map. Each of us has our own personal ‘drinking gourd’ that can lead us to a successful life. It is my hope that this book will assist you in finding yours. —Richard Scott Sr.
KOJO Productions hopes to offer more summit projects and programs in the future. Possible focuses include:
- single mothers
- single fathers
- middle school children
- single “homeless” women and men
- campus visits for parents
- weekend of leadership for African American students
- mentorship for single parents