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What is Praxis?
The Praxis Academy is Loyola Marymount University's Black Male Achievement
Initiative. Founded in 2013, the focuses on the empowerment, enrichment, engagement,
and retention of African American
male students at Loyola
Marymount University through an
intentional focus on identity
development, personal growth and
maturity, and professional acumen.
In doing so, it equips participants
with a greater understanding of
themselves as well as their
futures, while maximizing their
potential for success in school and
How was it created? Is it original to LMU’s campus or is it a national organization?
During the spring semester of 2013, the Office of Black Student Services (OBSS) was
awarded an Inclusive Excellence Grant from the Vice President of Intercultural Affairs,
Dr. Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, to implement a pilot programming initiative. In the Fall
of 2013, the Office of Black Student Services in the Department of Ethnic and
Intercultural Services (EIS) implemented the Praxis Academy for African American male
students. Nine (9) students were selected to participate in the pilot initiative. Two (2) of
these young men graduated last Spring! The initiative has also been generously supported
by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs.
What has Praxis done so far?
Although the initiative is currently being reimagined and restructured, the Praxis
Academy was active during the 2014-2015 school year. That year, the OBSS Director
was new to the University and to Praxis. It was, therefore, critical for the existing
members and the director to bond and become more familiar with each other. The group
met weekly during the Fall and most of the Spring Semester. During this
time, participants focused on the process of understanding themselves, becoming more
familiar with the historical Black male experience in the United States, and the concept
of Self to Community. This was done through group discussion, exposure to
the historical writings of WEB Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. The group
also spent a great deal of time grappling with and discussing the historical and
contemporary impacts of police brutality and the killing of unarmed Black men across the
country, as well as appropriate responses.
• Additionally, Praxis engaged in its first activity. The
young men developed a relationship with the Jenesse Center, a
South Los Angeles non-profit organization that houses and
provides vital services to women (the vast majority of whom are
Black), who have been victims of domestic violence. They
constructed bins and collected toys and books from LMU
students, faculty, and staff. They, then, presented the collected
items to the Center for distribution to the children of the victims.
This event operationalized the concept of Self to Community and
emphasized the historical importance of Social Justice in the
What is the vision for the program?
The ultimate goal of Praxis is to change the narrative for Black male students at LMU.
By connecting with participants and meeting them where they are, Praxis can assist
young Black men in better understanding themselves, so that they can, in turn, begin to
understand their own definitions of success, rather than the ones commonly presented to
them by society or the media. Armed with this type of clarity, young Black males at
LMU can, then, begin to imagine and take the steps necessary to succeed - in their
personal lives, in their spiritual lives, in their various relationships, in the classroom, and
in their communities - in school and in life.
How might an interested individual become involved or apply?
Recruitment is currently underway, as the initiative is preparing to expand later this
semester! Any rising sophomores or juniors, who are interested in the initiative, should
contact Dr. Nathan Sessoms at email@example.com or visit the Office of Black Student