Conference to offer healing of generational trauma for men of color


El Camino College students sit in the Student Equity & Achievement Village study lounge Thursday, Oct. 3. The Student Equity Program will be hosting the Men of Color Conference on Friday, Oct. 11 to offer an opportunity for men of color to heal. Diamond Brown/The Union

Healing generational trauma and practicing mindfulness will be the topic of discussion at the annual Men of Color Leadership Conference hosted by El Camino College on Friday, Oct. 11.

The event will take place in the East Dining Room above the Bookstore from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The theme this year is “A Holistic Approach to Healing Men of Color.”

Several counselors and administrators from ECC, Santa Monica College, Long Beach City College and Compton College got together and created the idea of a leadership conference for men of color, ECC KEAS Counselor Robert Williams said.

“Men of color are historically the least successful at higher education,” Williams said. “In order to reduce the amount of fragmented help for students we wanted to get together with other institutions that had men of color initiatives.”

Holistic wellness is the overall theme of the event as students will learn about financial and spiritual wellness and how to build their network.

The conference will also delve into discussions about real-world representation in professional spaces.

“It’s important show them the spaces that we occupy, that they could [occupy] in the future, to give them the agency to see that they can exist in the world on a higher level and be inspired,” ECC KEAS Counselor Christopher Hurd said.

Students need to be able to see deans and presidents that look like them when they walk around campus, not only painters, facility workers and gardeners, Williams said.

“Our men have been told a lie about their abilities when it comes to education, their truth is something entirely different.” Williams said. “As a community we’re hoping to learn how to heal together.”

ECC faculty coordinator of the Career Center, Yamonte Cooper will discuss the roots of trauma in his opening keynote speech.

“Dr. Cooper is actually on a sabbatical right now and writing a book on men and trauma, specifically African American men and trauma,” Williams said. “So he seemed like a simple choice [to be a speaker]”.

Although the emphasis is on healing men of color, the conference will also generally be a safe space for students of color, as women are welcome to attend the conference too.

“The purpose is to help men be whole and feel complete, and healthy—making the whole man strong and letting them know they’re not going through this alone,” Hurd said.

During lunch, a resource fair will have several community organizations and colleges and universities represented, including HBCUs and ECC campus organizations. Food, housing, mental health and employment resources will also be available to students.

“Men of color is about students that may feel like they don’t fit in. It’s about all men of color,” Avion Warner, 20, psychology major said. “We talk about heavy topics and how we should support each other, it’s like a family.

Students will have the opportunity to take professional headshots at the event and will be introduced to a website called, a networking site similar to LinkedIn, but for people of color.

There will be two breakout sessions where students can listen to guest speakers discuss topics such as “toxic masculinity” and other topics pertaining to wellness. Students will also get the opportunity to have face-to-face contact with professors, chancellors and other professionals during the conference.

“About half the attendees are professionals and the other half are students, so the idea is to have both in the same room and have them leave with an understanding of what both need,” Hurd said.

Breakfast burritos will be served at in the morning and tacos will be served at lunch with non-meat and vegetarian options available.

“The event is free for all California community college students, but the spaces are filling up fast and they have to RSVP ahead of time.” Hurd said. “Nearly 400 people have already registered to attend.”

The conference’s agenda can be found at the ECC website: