Panel discussion to focus on role of community in Black Male success


The University of Akron and Walmart invite the campus and the public to join community leaders, activists, politicians, educators and religious leaders in a discussion on the community's role in promoting Black Male success. The free event — the Pre-Black Male Summit Panel Discussion — will be held on April 11 from 9:30 to 11 a.m., in the Akron Public Library Auditorium, 60 South High St.


Michael J. Bender, who is president of Walmart West and responsible for all aspects of Walmart business in 22 states, will begin the dialogue.

The panel's distinguished discussants include:

  • Russ Mitchell, panel moderator and managing editor of the evening news and lead anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts for WKYC, Cleveland;
  • David Johns, the executive director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans;
  • Jim Tressel, executive vice president for student success at UA;
  • Fred Wright, president of the Akron Urban League and vice president of the Central Region of the National Urban League Association of Executives; and
  • David James, the superintendent of Akron Public Schools; and
  • Trabian Shorters, founder of BMe, which promotes black men's involvement in building communities, and former vice president of the Knight Foundation;

“The goal of the Pre-Black Male Summit Panel Discussion is to reinforce connections to those critical supports needed to improve the educational outcomes for African American Males,” says Lee Gill, associate vice president for inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer at UA.

To register separately for the Black Male Summit, April 11-12, visit the Black Male Summit website.

 Story by Nicholas Nussen

Media contact: Sarah Cupples, 330-972-7429 or