Youth Issues, Educational Forums Prominent during Black Caucus Weekend

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Youth Issues, Educational Forums Prominent During Black Caucus Weekend.

by Chris Murray

WASHINGTON, DC -- A nationally televised town hall meeting discussing issues facing Black youth, along with the convening of a Youth Congress, was one of the many forums and workshops highlighting the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 24th annual Legislative Weekend.

The "weekend's" a ctivities actually started on Wednesday, Sept. 14, with a press conference and "Legislative State of Black America" address by U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-MD, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Later, leaders from academia, the business and political communities joined the 40 Black Caucus members for a discussion of a variety of public policy issues ranging from health care to U.S. policy in Haiti at the Washington Convention Center.

The theme for this year's conference, "Embracing Our Youth For a New Tomorrow," marked a special effort by the Black Caucus to reach out to educate and involve young people in the political process, said Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), chairman of the Educational Braintrust for this year's conference.

"We're trying to make them understand that the system has problems, but you have to learn to master the system first," Owens said. "Young people want someone to pay attention to them, and they want to be included in the process."

More than 100 youth delegates and mentors from districts represented by Black Caucus members joined in a two-day session on the legislative process during a Youth Congress. The session began with a congressional briefing of youth delegates by Black Caucus members. Owens said the Youth Congress was a continuation of a similar forum held in the home districts of Congressional Black Caucus members.

"This is a step on the national level which we hope will enhance and stimulate more activity back at the local level," Owens said. "I had a youth conference in my district, and it was amazing how many traditional kinds of things came out of that conference. Something as basic as how to get scholarships for colleges was very popular."

Young people also participated in a nationally televised town hall meeting titled," Generation X: Black Voices of Reason: Black Voices of Rage."

Discussion of the U. …