MMP was joined by the esteemed Keith Jones, President and CEO of SoulTouchin' Experiences, as a part of our 2021 Speaker Series "Critical Conversations: A Three Part Series Focusing on Black and Brown Youth with Intention." Jones is a long-time activist and advocate for the rights of youth with disabilities, particularly those of color.
Jones began the presentation by speaking about his own personal story, and what it was like to grow up as someone with an apparent disability and the intersectionality between that identity and his identity as an African-American man. He then used that experience to more broadly speak about intersectionality within the disability community, as well as how that affects those with non-apparent disabilities.
The role these identities play in mentoring then became a key facet of the presentation. "Understanding that, as a mentor, [you are] doing this because [you] can give something back," said Jones. "But not all mentorship is good mentorship. It's understanding what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses, before you even get into the situation of mentoring. And even once you're in it, it's acknowledging and being authentic with your speech... It's a symbiotic relationship." Jones went on to explain that "the reason youth thrive under effective mentorship is because you're probably one of the few people in their lives that see them as a functioning human."
After his speech, Jones also answered several questions from attendees about topics like advocacy, intersectionality, and the importance of a mentor's intent. He finished the even by displaying "Rising Phoenix," an inspiring Netflix music video focused on disable athletes that Jones co-wrote.
Our Speaker series has one additional keynote presentation on December 15th. On that day, Jasmine Ramon will present "Exploring the Intersections of Gender and Race."
Sam Steed is the AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring Communications and Network Associate at Mass Mentoring Partnership.