By Katie Raynor
COLUMBIA CITY – This Sat., Feb. 9, The Life Enrichment Bookstore and Learning Center in Columbia City will host “Beyond the Barbershop,” a one-day conference that aims to give men in the community a platform to discuss issues that for many have historically been confined within the four walls of neighborhood barbershops.
The conference, which runs from 9 am to 2 pm, features five African-American male speakers who will discuss personal power, family systems, health management, personal and transgenerational healing, and money management, followed by an open question and answer session. The $29 registration fee also includes breakfast, lunch and access to vendors and giveaways.
Conference Director Dr. Stanley Allen Jackson said in an e-mail that while he believes sitting in that barber’s chair is an important rite of passage and a traditional way for men to connect with their communities, he hopes the conference will initiate a broader conversation among men about issues in their lives ranging from politics and religion to health and finances.
He says he hopes that by attending, “They will gain valuable information that will assist them to ‘Do Better, Think Better and Be Better’ as men, taking the positive information back to their families and communities and taking ownership of his actions.” He said he hopes men will be inspired to be more accountable and to continue to grow in positive ways.
Dr. Jackson says that not only was the Life Enrichment Bookstore his first choice of venue for the event based on its role as a “watering hole” for the community in Columbia City, but it also served as the site of the inspiration for the conference.
After attending an author’s marathon at the bookstore last October, Jackson struck up a conversation with attendee and author Debrena Jackson Gandy about how much they both enjoyed the event, and the idea for their first conference focused on mens’ issues was born.
He said, “She has been a major part of this conference, and although it is for men only, she has done a fantastic job behind the scenes. Without her there would be no conference.” They saw a need for a “broader discussion taking us deeper together. We need more of the ‘how’, too. We need to be healthy in our bodies, minds and souls. Be better men.” They hope this will be the first of many similar events.
Register for BTB Men’s Conference, $29 or to register by phone: 206-878-8163