About 60 Annapolis and Anne Arundel County residents will participate in a four-day conference next week in Annapolis aimed at having the area's minority community take charge of its future.
The Annapolis conference of the Institute for African-American Mobilization is a pilot program sponsored by the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, whose contractor will fine-tune and take it to other communities around the country.
"The quality of life we desire is our responsibility," said Emily Green, Annapolis' director of community services and substance abuse. "We are all in this to save ourselves together."
The agenda has broad goals, allowing participants to set the exact topics for discussion, but is aimed at creating a network within the community.
Overall, the first day will be devoted to examining the current condition of the black community in the city and county and looking ahead to what participants would like it to be. The second and third days will explore how to reach that goal. The fourth day will include identifying projects and people to work on them as participants outline solutions.
The conference will run Monday through Thursday at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
Letters went out to community leaders and groups, people who had volunteered in the community and others. Fliers were
posted throughout the community. Spaces are still available.
"It could cover from political issues to social issues to financial issues," said Darius Stanton, Annapolis substance abuse policy specialist.
Issues likely to surface include drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, crime, single-parent families and education, Ms. Green said.
Participants will look at the roles of culture, religion, social organization and psychology in taking practical approaches to solving problems, Mr. Stanton said.
"We are going to empower the community to do something for themselves," said Diane Fabiyi-King of Macro International, a Silver Spring-based firm that has a four-year, $27 million training contract with the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
She is one of the people who developed the curriculum.
The conference is co-sponsored by the Annapolis Community Partnership, whose members are furnishing supplies. Transportation and child care can be arranged.
The program includes a Cultural Celebration from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Maryland Hall, for $5 a ticket. That will feature a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie by the Max Rucks Ensemble, performances by the rap group Native Sons and other local performers.
Cities the Institute for African-American Mobilization will go to include Washington, D.C.; Fayetteville, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
For information and registration, call 263-7932, 263-7927 or 263-7270.