‘Gathering of Black Men’ just the beginning of one woman’s quest

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

JANS – Pike County, MS native Tracie Patterson Cook is on a mission to create a future of true freedom. She recently held a cultural awareness program entitled, “We are Standing on Holy Ground: Creating a Future of True Freedom.” 

Serving as guest speaker, Cook addressed the topic, including the delayed freedom for Blacks in 1865, now regarded as Juneteenth, as she invited listeners to reimagine what these newly freed ancestors would expect today. She shared sobering statistics about rising rates of suicide among Black youth in the state and the alarming rates of homicide due to gun violence. 

Hearing the low rankings of Mississippi in health, education, family and community outcomes, and the poverty levels in Pike County, with a median income of $37,500, stirred passion among listeners. Cook spurred people towards a future of true freedom by pushing past the inertia of hope to the action of belief.

A continuation of Juneteenth action to create a blueprint of true freedom, Cook and colleague, Kevin Brown, formerly of McComb, co-organized “A Gathering of Black Men,” an intergenerational conversation, an arts to health and wellness experience where participants shared their stories of community engagement.

A panel of men from Magnolia and McComb, including Torium Brown, Senator Kelvin Butler, Gary Brumfield, Councilman Samuel Hall, Edward Johnson, Ricky Ramsey, Ray Reynolds, and Keith Sibley, an array of community organizers, state and local elected officials, self-employed entrepreneurs, and social impact activists, held a roundtable discussion of lessons learned on their career pathways to leadership. Facilitators Justin Lofton, local community leader, and Cook’s son, Brian Cook, co-principal of Groundswell Change, a diversity leadership nonprofit organization, engaged participants in dialogue to identify individual and collective untapped skills, interests, resources, and pathways of access that can help articulate and create the futures that Pike County residents want and deserve.

Audience participants, young men, 17-35, and older, joined in this special opportunity to network, while sharing ideas and enjoying music and food.

Continued efforts for the “Gathering of Black Men” to be inclusive of all neighboring areas in Pike County will emphasize new ways to encourage economic growth and future development for the youth, building on this intergenerational framework to ensure interdependence, rather than individualistic journeys as a people.

Cook has a pending grant to convene a intergenerational cohort of Black women in Mississippi to focus on womanist, futurist leadership, and policy engagement. “This will be life-changing for me and women across the state, and just the beginning of a dream come true,” she explains.

This journey is personal for her, as this work allows her to give back to the community that made her who she is today. She describes her work towards “creating a future of true freedom” as her calling.

(Photos: Scott Video & Photography)

Republish This Story

Copy and Paste the below text.

‘Gathering of Black Men’ just the beginning of one woman’s quest

By Jackson Advocate News Service
August 14, 2023