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Praxis Academy: Black Male Initiative
What is the initiative about?
The Praxis Academy is Loyola Marymount
University's Black Male Achievement
Initiative. Founded in 2013, the program
focuses on the empowerment, enrichment,
engagement, and retention of African
American male students 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 in life.
The initiative is currently being reimagined and restructured. However, the Praxis Academy
participants have 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
Black Community.

What’s the new vision?
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 or visit the Department of Ethnic and
Intercultural Services in Malone 301.

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