United Voice: Community leaders work to inspire young men in Putnam City District

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - Hundreds of male high school students in the Putnam City District are learning more about the road to greatness and inner strength.

News 4 continues to follow the United Voice movement as local community leaders come together to encourage honest and healthy dialogue about race relations in Oklahoma.

Monday, those students attended the 'Making of Men Summit.'

At Putnam City North High School, Steve Davis Sr. hopes to inspire greatness - even in the midst of storms these young men may be facing.

"You may not have food at the house or the lights may be turned off but here's what you've got to do - you've got to be able to encourage yourself," Davis said. "I want you to say 'the champ is here.'"

Former principal and active community leader Lee Roland, whose honor the event was held in, says these teens need to be leaders - first - of themselves.

"They don't have the proverbial boots to pull themselves up," Roland said. "We need to put some boots on their feet and then help them to pull themselves up."

Davis says most of these teens need to find leaders - who they may have more in common with than they think - like David Holt - who lost his mother while attending this very high school and is now the Mayor of Oklahoma City.

"But I think you're looking at me and you're thinking 'Yeah but you're white,'" Holt said.

Holt - though - says despite the fact every mayor in this city has been white - he hopes for and believes in change.

"Under the age of 18 in Oklahoma City is 60% non-white," he said. "This city might have once been majority white but that isn't going to be the case anymore."

Spreading hope and inclusion through education - in this vital United Voice mission.

"We want people to know what they don't know and consequently a lot of our actions are based upon what we don't know - and that's real unfortunate," said Roland.

In breakout sessions, the young men participated in skill-building activities, learning about topics like toxic masculinity and handling deferred dreams.

United Voice mission statement: A coalition of Oklahoma’s media outlets, brought together in a united voice to promote a healthy dialogue on race.

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