EAST ORANGE, NJ — Healing, learning and mental health were the themes of the day for the East Orange School District on Monday, Feb. 6. East Orange Superintendent AbdulSaleem Hasan, in partnership with the Urban Assembly, and the founder of The Black Man Can non-profit organization, Brandon Frame, presented “The State of SEL in the Community, Building a Better Brother — A Conversation on SEL and Mental Health.” Social emotional learning is a methodology that helps students of all ages to better comprehend their emotions, to feel those emotions fully and demonstrate empathy for others.
The guest at this event was Jason Wilson, director of The Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy and author of the book “Battle Cry,” in which he calls on people to unlearn society’s definition of masculinity and discover the power of engaging with our emotions. Wilson is known for his earlier book, “Cry like a Man,” in which he attempts to discover what it is to be a man, as well as numerous appearances on radio stations and podcasts, such as the Joe Rogan Podcast and the Breakfast Club Radio Station in New York.
Accompanied by Hasan and East Orange Mayor Ted Green, Wilson has traveled to three high schools: East Orange Campus High School, Cicely Tyson High School and East Orange STEM Academy. At each school, Wilson has had discussions with the male students about mental health and ways to navigate the world in a positive way as young men.
He said these discussions, occurring during Black History Month, were meant to shed light on positive thinking and living with purpose and to address grievances of violence among youth within the black community in East Orange.
Hasan discussed the importance of discussions like this for today’s young black teenagers and for young men in general.
“We continue the legacy of the honorable Booker T. Washington,” Hasan said in a press release. “He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way of progress through education and industry.”
Hasan also spoke on the importance of authors such as Wilson reaching back and sharing wisdom with youth.
“We are fortunate to have brother Jason Wilson share his insight from his latest book, ‘Battle Cry,’addressing self-discipline, mental health, the high cost of emotional depression, transparency and misconstrued masculinity of African American men as well as our youth.”Hasan said in the press release.