Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., hosts youth conference for teen boys

Sydney Gray | Nov. 13, 2023

The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., want teens in their community to know it’s not too late to make a change for a better future.

The organization hosted its annual Youth Conference 2023: “The Black Male: Is It Too Late?”

About 100 boys, freshmen to seniors representing different Memphis Shelby County Schools gathered for this year’s youth conference, in Whitehaven.

“We like to inform; we like to educate, and we like to give them exposure,” Dr. DeJuan Parker said.

For the past four years, the Alpha Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated has brought Memphis youth together during the school day providing them with tools, and knowledge for a successful future.

Dr. Parker is a member of the Alpha Delta Lambda Chapter and Chairperson of the annual event.

“I want them to know they’re not by themselves,” Dr. Parker said. A lot of times, especially with this generation, they feel that it’s a disconnect and they feel that the older generation don’t reach out to them. I want them to know that we’re always there for them because we were them years ago – it takes a village.”

The teens heard from men in the community on topics like college preparation, job training, financial literacy and community policing.

A retired Memphis police officer shared the best ways to respond during police encounters, emphasizing respect, and transparency.

They were given real-life examples to know what to do, and how to do it during police interactions.

Chapter Vice President Rex Gipson says he hopes these conversations ease relationships and help spark interest (and consideration) in a career in law enforcement or public service.

“As a recruiter for the city of Memphis, I look at it as an opportunity to actually build the police department with quality young men,” Gipson said.

He also told Action News 5, “they’re the future and they’re the ones who can make that change if they invest in the city, invest in themselves [and] they’ll be able to provide a safer community for all.”

Dr. Parker says as the teens become young men, he hopes what they take away they pour back into the next generation.

“Remember that somebody cared about them and 10 years from now, I want them to do something like this as well,” he said. Reach back to the community that they’re from, and make sure they mentor young boys so that they can be successful in the future.”